A video showing Syrian insurgents chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ over the dead body of one of the pilots of the Russian jet shot down by Turkey this morning, has emerged shortly before a separate rebel group blew up a Russian helicopter searching for the surviving soldier.
Footage reportedly filmed by rebels in Syria’s Turkomen Mountains, an area which has been the cause of recent tensions between Turkey and Russia, sees local anti-government fighters celebrating and cheering as they discover the body of the pilot.
The Russian two-pilot Sukhoi Su-24 jet was shot down by F-16 fighter planes on Tuesday morning, after it violated Turkish airspace and ignored nearly a dozen warnings by the army, Ankara military officials said.
This has been refuted by a furious Vladimir Putin who said the jet never left Syrian airspace, and the Russian President instead accused Turkey of funding ISIS, and using its military to protect the terrorist organisation.
The video, posted on Twitter by a man believed to be a Syrian-Turkmen rebel soldier, shows at least a dozen men surrounding the corpse of the pilot, dressed in Russian military fatigues, and some are heard shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ – ‘God is great’.
Both pilots ejected themselves from the jet and could be seen parachuting down to the ground, where one has been reported dead and the other captured by Syrian Turkmen rebels.
A spokesman for the rebel group said the pilot, who can be seen covered in bruises and burns in the video, was already deceased when he landed, and that they are conducting search operations in the area to find the second crew member.
Jahed Ahmad of the 10th Brigade in the Coast, a group affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, said his group would consider exchanging the body of the Russian pilot for prisoners held by the Syrian government.
The area where the plane went down is mainly populated by Turkmens – Syrians citizens, but ethnic Turks – and is the target of a current Syrian government offensive, where President Bashar al-Assad’s ground troops are supported by Russian airstrikes.
The Turkomen Mountains is controlled by several insurgent groups, who are not allied with ISIS, including al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, The Free Syrian Army and the 10th Brigade in the Coast, that consists of local Turkmen fighters.
The Turkish army said the pilots of the Russian jet had been warned ‘ten times in the space of five minutes’ before the plane was shot down, a statement which has since been backed up by the U.S. military.
‘We were able to hear everything that was going on, these (communications) were on open channels,’ Baghdad-based military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said, confirming that ten warnings were issued by Turkish pilots without response.
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 analyze data before arriving at that determination
Meanwhile, President Putin called Turkey’s decision to down the plane a ‘stab in the back’ by the accomplices of ISIS, as his Defence Ministry still claims the jet was flying over Syria and never entered Turkish airspace.
‘The loss we suffered today came from a stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists,’ President Putin said, speaking at a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Sochi, Russia, on Thursday afternoon.
‘We will never tolerate such atrocities as happened today and we hope that the international community will find the strength to join forces and fight this evil,’ Putin said.
The president warned that ‘today’s tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations’, shortly before Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cancelled tomorrow’s visit to Turkey, where the two nations were due to discuss Syria.
Read more: DailyMail.co.uk
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