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Monday, October 5, 2015, 17:08

Russian warplane violated airspace: Turkey

By Associated Press

Russian warplane violated airspace: Turkey
In this image made from video provided by Homs Media Centre, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, smoke rises after airstrikes by military jets in Talbiseh of the Homs province, western Syria, Sept 30, 20 15. (Homs Media Centre via AP)

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the violation of its airspace by a Russian warplane near the border with Syria over the weekend, and demanded that Moscow avoid future infringements, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Russia's operations in Syria are aimed at supporting the Syrian army and target terrorists and extremists there, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Monday.

"The aim of our operations lies in providing support to the Syrian military's offensive in their struggle with terrorist and radical organisations and forces," Peskov said.

Russia's Defence Ministry said on Monday that Russia's air force had made 25 flights in Syria in the past 24 hours and hit nine Islamic State objects there.

Su-34, Su-24M and Su-25 plans took part in the strikes in the past 24 hours, it said. Air force planes hit three Islamic State objects in Homs province.

The Russian plane violated the Turkey's airspace near the town of Yayladagi, in Hatay province on Saturday, prompting Turkey to scramble two F-16 jets which intercepted the Russian aircraft and forced it to fly back into the Syrian airspace, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

In the meeting with the Russian ambassador, Turkey demanded that Russia avoid such violations again and warned that Russia would be held "responsible for any undesired incident," that may occur, a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said. The same message was also relayed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov by his Turkish counterpart Feridun Sinirlioglu in a telephone conversation.

The incident comes as Turkey has expressed concerns over Russian airstrikes in Syria that have targeted some foreign-backed insurgents. Turkey and Russia also have opposed positions on the Syrian regime, with Russia backing President Bashar Assad and Turkey insisting on his ouster.

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