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Turkey: Syria shot down our warplane

Updated at 5:30 p.m. Friday ET: The office of Turkey's prime minister said early Saturday that Syria downed a Turkish F-4 air force jet over the Mediterranean. The Syrian military, in a statement circulated on state media, said the plane was flying over its waters.

Turkey will take all necessary measures “decisively” once all the details of the incident emerge, said the office of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan after a two-hour security meeting. It did not specify what the steps would be.

Search and rescue operations forthe warplane's missing airmen were continuing, Erdogan's office said.


Syria's military said, "Our air defenses confronted a target that penetrated our air space over our territorial waters pre-afternoon on Friday and shot it down. It turned out to be a Turkish military plane."

Of Friday, Erdogan told reporters at a news conference covered by NBC News he could not say whether the plane had crashed or been shot down.

"The chief of general staff has made the necessary statement about the missing plane. I am not saying it was brought down at the point it fell. It is not possible to say this without knowing the exact facts," Erdogan said.

He said he wasn't aware of any Syrian claims of responsibility for bringing down the plane or of earlier reports that Syrian authorities had apologized. 

Earlier, Lebanon's Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar television station said that Syrian air defenses shot down a Turkish military aircraft, quoting Syrian security sources. 

"Syrian security sources confirmed to a Manar correspondent in Damascus that Syrian defense forces shot down the Turkish fighter jet," a news flash on the Beirut-based station said.  

Pro-Iranian Al-Mayadeen television station, which is based in Lebanon, also quoted what it said were Turkish sources as saying a jet had been shot down by Syrian air defenses.

Turkey -- a member of NATO -- said it had lost contact with a plane while it was over the sea off the southeastern coast, and a television station said it had crashed in Syrian territorial waters. 

In a statement, Turkey's military said it lost radar and radio contact with the plane after it took off from Erhac Airport in the eastern province of Malatya. 

Two crew were aboard the F-4 at the time of the crash, the Turkish state news agency Anatolia said on its website, citing Malatya governor Ulvi Saran. 

Turkish warplanes regularly patrol along and off Turkey's southern Mediterranean coast.

Turkey has joined nations such as the U.S. in saying that Syrian President Bashar Assad should step down because of the uprising in his country. Turkey also has set up refugee camps on its border for more than 32,000 Syrians who have fled the fighting.

This article includes reporting by Reuters and The Associated Press.

Reports are surfacing that Syria may have shot down a Turkish fighter jet over Syrian waters in the Mediterranean Sea. NBC's Richard Engel reports.

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