ANKARA Turkey said on Saturday a MiG-23 warplane, probably belonging to the Syrian air force, had crashed on the Syrian side of the border and a search was under way for the pilot who probably bailed out and may have come down on Turkish soil.
But a local Turkish governor told Anatolian news agency a rescue team had reached the remains of the plane, which suggested it might have come down on the Turkish side of a long and wending frontier. There were no pilots in the wreckage.
“The MiG-23, believed to have been owned by the Syrian regime, crashed on the Syrian side of the border,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.
“The pilot may have bailed out and come down on either side…. A search and rescue operation is under way.”
“It’s not clear why the plane crashed. It may be due to weather conditions,” he said.
Combat operations by many militia and government forces come close to Turkey’s long frontier.
(Editing by Mark Trevelyan)