Turkey Shoots Down Drone: Is The Airspace Crowded Due To Air-Strikes In Syria?

Turkey’s warplanes shot down a drone that had entered their territory. There are speculations that the unmanned aerial vehicle belonged to Russia, but investigations into the downed drone are still pending.

Turkey shot down an unidentified and unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly referred to as a drone, after it had ventured into its airspace from the border it shares with Syria. The incident highlights the dangers of multiple countries launching air offensives over Syria in order to curtail the rampant insurgency within the country. The latest to join the air combat was Russia. Vladimir Putin claims his allies, backed by air offensive launched by Russian jets, are successfully holding off rebels near Aleppo.

Turkey’s military confirmed its jets shot down an unidentified drone in Turkish air space. Interestingly, Turkey officials maintain they didn’t fire randomly and issued at least three warnings to the drone that it had ventured into a restricted airspace. Despite each warning, the drone continued on its path and as a precautionary measure, Turkey’s warplanes had to shoot it down. The three-warning system is a commonly established rule of engagement and allows jets to take down any aerial vehicle that does not respond. Local media broadcaster NTV said that the drone had come 3 km (2 miles) into Turkish air space.

Turkey’s officials didn’t confirm exactly how they had managed to establish contact with an unmanned drone. While the technology within the drone may have the ability to pick radio contact, there has been no proof that these autonomous flying machines have the capability of communicating back.

Nonetheless, Turkey has been complaining of Russian airplanes routinely violating its airspace along the border it shares with Syria. Russia, on the other hand, had shared that its Defense Ministry had established direct contact with the Turkish military to avoid incidents with flights near the border, reported MSN. Moreover, Russia claims to have setup a hotline between a base used by its air force in Syria and the Israeli air force command center.

Though Turkey has shot down the drone, its origin and ownership is still being discussed upon. A senior Turkish authority merely added the following.

“It’s a drone. We are trying to identify its nationality.”

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Ministry official spokesman Major General Igor Koneshenkov said the following.

“All planes of the Russian Air Group in the Syrian Arab Republic have returned to the Hmeimim Airbase after completing their combat missions. Russian unmanned aerial vehicles conducting monitoring and aerial reconnaissance on the territory of Syria are operating in the routine mode.”

Col.-Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, a deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, coroboorated the statements by Koneshenkov.

“I state with absolute responsibility that all our drones are either performing tasks or staying at the base.”

Though the drone may not belong to Russia, the usage of drones in conducting military exercises has been increasing exponentially. Interestingly, these airstrikes in Syria mean that Russia and NATO, the two groups that have never been seen cooperating with each other, are now flying combat missions in the same airspace for the first time since World War II, reported Express. This is bound to increase tensions between the two Cold War enemies, indicated experts.

Despite shooting down a drone, Turkey appears to be a victim of war that has been raging on in Syria. Due to its close proximity with the war torn country and the fact that it shares a border with Syria, it’s no surprise that unidentified aircraft and Syria-based missiles have been routinely messing with the air defense systems and triggering warnings of airstrikes.

Russia and America are believed to be working on a set of rules to prevent such problems, reported New York Daily News. Meanwhile, the control of Aleppo, which is home to 2 million innocent civilians, is now divided between President Bashar al-Assad’s administration and the rebels.

[Image Credit | John Moore / Getty Images]