Russian Jet Shot Down: World War 3 Fears Raised As Turkey Reportedly Downs Russian Jet

A Russian jet has reportedly been shot down in Turkey’s airspace, raising fears of World War 3 in a region that is already marked by tension

Unconfirmed reports began circulating on Saturday that the Turkish forces shot down a Russian plane, with witnesses saying they saw a large explosion in Huraytan, northern Syria. The reports have been picked up by British media, with both the Daily Mail and Express reporting on the alleged military action.

There are now reports on social media that the Russian jet allegedly shot down may have flown into Turkish airspace.

The U.K.’s Express reported that this incident follows an earlier violation of Turkey’s airspace, one that may have been inadvertent.

“F-16 fighters were scrambled after a MIG-29 twin-engined jet locked radar on Turkish planes near the town of Yayladagi, in Hatay province close to the border with Syria.”

“Turkish jets then escorted the Soviet-era aircraft back into Syrian airspace.”

“The incursion followed nearly a week of Russia’s devastating bombing campaign in Syria after President Vladimir Putin declared war on Islamic State (ISIS).”

It was reported that bad weather may have played a factor in that airspace violation.

That incident may have led to the latest action, with Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying Russia was escalating the crisis in Syria. Turkish officials reportedly warned Moscow that it would be “responsible for any undesired incident” that came as a result of the escalation.

There has been rising tension and fears of World War 3 in the region as Russia has increased its military involvement in Syria, to the dismay of many other countries. This week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the incursion into Turkey’s airspace could be leading to a larger conflict.

“We’re greatly concerned about it because it is precisely the kind of thing that had Turkey responded under its rights could have resulted in a shoot-down,” he said at a public event in Chile (via AFP).

Kerry said he was in talks with Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Feridun Sinirlioglu, about how to better communicate with Russia about its military expansion in the region.

“It is precisely the kind of thing that we warned against,” Kerry said about efforts to de-escalate tensions with Russia.

“And it is why we have engaged in initial conversations with Russia about making certain there’s no possibility of accidental conflict,” he added.

Tension and fears of World War 3 have been growing steadily since Russia launched a series of airstrikes in Syria, increasing its presence in the already volatile region.

Russian leaders have reportedly been supporting leader Bashar Assad fight ISIS, but the United States has been giving support to rebel groups that are fighting the Islamist militant group. The United States has called on Assad to step down and bring an end to the civil war that has torn the country apart.

There are reports that the Russian airstrikes are actually targeting these U.S.-backed rebels rather than ISIS positions.

Though fears of World War 3 are raising, the reports of the Russian plane being shot down by Turkey are not yet confirmed. More details will be added as new developments come.

[Stock picture by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images]