Turkish warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter on Monday after it violated Turkish airspace and are continuing to patrol the border, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said.
“Today at 1420 (1120 GMT) a Mi-17 helicopter belonging to Syria violated the Turkish border in the Guvecci area of Yayladagi in Hatay province by 2 km,” Arinc told reporters in Ankara after a regular cabinet meeting.
“It was repeatedly warned by our air defence elements. When the violation continued, our planes … hit the helicopter at 1425 with a missile causing it to fall on Syrian soil.”
Turkey, one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fiercest critics, has advocated military intervention in Syria and grown frustrated over what it sees as Western indecisiveness.
Turkey, which shares a 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria, is sheltering a quarter of the 2 million people who have fled the Syrian conflict.