Turkey says it shot down unidentified drone on Syria border

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PHOTO: Ministry of Defense

Turkey’s air force has downed an unidentified drone on its border with Syria after it breached Turkish airspace multiple times, the defense ministry said, according to Al Jazeera.

The drone, detected near the border by the military, intruded into Turkish airspace six times before it was finally shot down by F-16 jets on Sunday.

“An unmanned aerial vehicle which violated our air space six times [on Saturday] … was downed by two of our F-16s which took off from İncirlik [air base in southern Turkey],” the Ministry of Defense said, sharing pictures of the downed drone on its official Twitter account.

The ministry said the unknown aircraft was grounded at 1:24 p.m. local time, adding that “the wreckage of the drone was found at the Çıldıroba base” by the Turkish gendarmerie in Kilis province near the Syrian border.

In 2015 the Turkish air force shot down a Russian Su-24 aircraft in the Turkey-Syria border area, sparking an unprecedented crisis in the two countries’ relations.

The incident came just a day after Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem demanded the immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces from its territories.

“The United States and Turkey maintain an illegal military presence in northern Syria,” al-Muallem said in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday.

“Any foreign forces operating in our territories without our authorization are occupying forces and should withdraw immediately.”

Al-Muallem added that these countries were using “terrorism” as a “tool to impose their insidious agendas on the people and governments that reject their external dictates.”

Syria’s devastating eight-year civil war has drawn numerous foreign militaries and thousands of foreign fighters battling for power.

The war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since 2011, triggering an unprecedented refugee crisis.

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