Turkey pilots warned Russian jet 10 times before shoot-down: US

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber taking off in Syria.
A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber taking off in Syria.AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US military on Tuesday backed up Turkey's claim that Turkish pilots had warned a Russian jet 10 times - but failed to get a response - before shooting it down.

"We were able to hear everything that was going on, these (communications) were on open channels," Baghdad-based military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said in a video call with reporters.

Asked if he could confirm reports 10 warnings were issued by Turkish pilots without response, Warren said: "I can confirm that, yes."


He added it was not immediately clear on which side of the Turkish-Syrian border the Russian jet had been flying, and it would take some time to analyse data before arriving at that determination.

The Pentagon says no US forces were involved in the Turkish downing of the Russian jet.

The United States has a strong presence in Turkey and regularly flies warplanes out of the air base in Incirlik as it conducts bombing runs against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.

Pentagon officials have previously condemned the actions and tactics of Russian pilots after Russian jets violated Turkish airspace last month.

In Tuesday's incident, the Turkish army said the plane was shot down by two Turkish F-16s after violating Turkish airspace 10 times within a five-minute period.

Russia insists the jet was inside Syrian airspace and condemned the downing as "a very serious incident."