Pilot of crashed Syrian jet rescued in Turkey


File photo of a Syrian MiG-23, the type identified by Turkey's prime minister. This photo was taken in Ayn Tarma, east of Damascus, on 25 February 2016.Image copyright
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The aircraft was identified as a Syrian MiG-23 (File photo)

The pilot of a Syrian military aircraft that crashed near the border between Syria and Turkey has been found alive and taken to a hospital, officials say.

The plane’s pilot, who ejected before the crash, has only been identified as a Syrian national.

It is unclear what caused the crash, in southern Turkey.

An Islamist group which is fighting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said the plane had been shot down, but the Syrian government has not confirmed it.

A Syrian army source had said earlier the air force had lost contact with a fighter jet on a mission near the border, according to the country’s state TV.

The pilot was found exhausted after a nine-hour search, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reports.

He was taken to a hospital in Hatay province, but no details were given on his condition.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim had earlier identified the jet as a Syrian MiG-23. It crashed near the Turkish village of Yaylacik, some 35km (22 miles) from the Syrian border.

But the case was not a matter of border violation, Hatay’s Governor, Erdal Ata, was quoted by Anadolu as saying.

Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham tweeted a video which it said showed the plane being “targeted”.

It said the plane had been bombing Idlib province in northern Syria when it was shot down by opposition forces.

Turkey supports rebel forces in Syria, which oppose the government of Bashar al-Assad. Turkish military forces also operate on the Syrian side of the border, targeting both Kurdish rebel fighters and so-called Islamic State.



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