Two Turkish jets harassed by unidentified MIG-29 aircraft on Syrian border: Army

Two Turkish F-16 jets were harassed by an unidentified MIG-29 aircraft on the Syrian border a day after a Russian fighter plane violated Turkish airspace, the military said on Monday (Oct 5).
Two Turkish F-16 jets were harassed by an unidentified MIG-29 aircraft on the Syrian border a day after a Russian fighter plane violated Turkish airspace, the military said on Monday (Oct 5).PHOTO: REUTERS

ANKARA (AFP) - Two Turkish F-16 jets were harassed by an unidentified MIG-29 aircraft on the Syrian border a day after a Russian fighter plane violated Turkish airspace, the military said on Monday (Oct 5).

"Two F-16 jets were harassed by a MIG-29 plane - whose nationality could not be identified - for a total of five minutes and 40 seconds," the army said in a statement, saying the incident took place on Sunday.

Turkey said earlier its F-16 jets had on Saturday intercepted a Russian fighter plane which violated Turkish air space near the Syrian border, forcing the aircraft to turn back.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday warned that Ankara would activate military rules of engagement irrespective of who violates its air space.

"Our rules of engagement are clear whoever violates our air space," Mr Davutoglu told Haber-Turk television after Turkish jets intercepted the Russian fighter which violated Turkish air space near.

"The Turkish Armed Forces are clearly instructed. Even it is a flying bird it will be intercepted," he added.

Meanwhile, Russian military jets carried out strikes on nine Islamic State in Iraq and Syira (ISIS) sites in Syria over the past 24 hours, the Defence Ministry in Moscow said Monday.

The Russian warplanes hit ISIS command centres, weapon caches, artillery and communication posts in the Homs, Idlib and Latakia provinces of Syria, the ministry said in a statement.

"25 sorties were completed by Su-34, Su-24 and Su-25 jets from the airbase in Hmeimim. Nine IS facilities were struck," the statement said.

In the north-western Idlib province, the Russian military said it had destroyed a training camp by the city of Jisr al-Shughur, artillery positions near Jabal al-Qobeh and armoured vehicles.

A command centre in the coastal region of Latakia was also hit, while in the Homs province a command centre near the town of Rastan was struck along with two ammunition depots and a communication centre, Moscow said.

Russia last Wednesday launched airstrikes in Syria and says it is hitting targets connected to ISIS militants in the war-torn country.

The United States and its allies have accused Russia of seeking to buttress its long-standing ally President Bashar al-Assad under cover of a claimed assault on ISIS.