Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane

This frame grab from video by Haberturk TV, shows a Russian warplane on fire before crashing on a hill as seen from Hatay province, Turkey, Nov. 24, 2015. Turkey shot down the Russian warplane, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace. (Haberturk TV)

BEIRUT -- NATO will hold an emergency meeting after Turkey shot down a Russian attack aircraft along the Syrian border that Ankara said had violated its airspace. Tuesday's meeting of the North Atlantic Council, the alliance's main decision-making body, will be held at Turkey's request, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements. The council, composed of ambassadors from the United States and NATO's 27 other member countries, will convene at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) The official said "the aim of this extraordinary NAC meeting is for Turkey to inform allies about the downing of a Russian airplane." On Oct. 5, following two earlier Russian violations of Turkish airspace reported by Turkey, the NAC accused Russia of "irresponsible behavior," and sternly warned Moscow it was courting "extreme danger" by sending its warplanes into the skies of an alliance member country. A spokesman for the rebel group that captured a Russian pilot whose plane was shot down over northwestern Syria says he was dead upon landing. Jahed Ahmad of the 10th Brigade in the Coast tells The Associated Press that the two Russian crew members tried to land in their parachutes in government-held areas after they ejected, but came under fire from members of his group. He adds that rebels shot one of the pilots, who landed dead on the ground on Tuesday. The fate of the second pilot was not immediately known. The group released a video showing gunmen standing around a blond pilot whose face was bruised and appeared dead. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved a new government led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu following the ruling party's victory in Turkey's Nov. 1 election. Erdogan approved a Cabinet list presented by Davutoglu on Tuesday, hours after Turkey shot down a Russian plane it said violated its airspace and ignored repeated warnings. The ruling party regained the parliamentary majority it had lost in a June vote. The Nov. 1 election was a re-run called by Erdogan after Davutoglu's efforts for a coalition government failed. Davutoglu was heading an interim government that was appointed to take Turkey to November vote. A video has surfaced purporting to show a Russian pilot wounded and immobile after Turkey shot down a Russian plane along the Syrian border, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace. The video posted Monday shows armed rebels gathered around the soldier lying on his back on the ground with bruises and blood on his face. It was not immediately clear if he was dead. A voice on the video is heard saying "a Russian pilot," while another says: "The 10th Division has captured a Russian pilot, God is greatest." Turkey said the plane had ignored repeated warnings. Russia denied that the plane crossed the Syrian border into Turkish skies.

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