Turkish military jets reportedly just downed a Syrian surveillance drone

Kurds1Asmaa Waguih /ReutersA female fighter waits for a drone to land at the PKK base in Sinjar.

Syrian state media said a surveillance drone was shot down by Turkish military jets on Saturday, which Turkey said had violated its airspace.

NATO member Turkey, an outspoken critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has a 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria and frequently scrambles jets to its frontier amid concerns aircraft have violated its air space.

A Turkish military official said two F-16 fighters flying out of Incirlik base in southern Turkeyhad opened fire on a target, but he was unable to give details about the target.

Syrian state TV said it was a small, remotely controlled surveillance drone.

Eyewitnesses in Turkey’s Hatay province, which borders Syria, reported seeing an aircraft fired upon by jets and break apart in the air. News channels said it landed in Syria.

The Turkish military has stepped up security in province at the border following the incident, security sources said.

Turkey has taken in more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees and has repeatedly called for Assad’s overthrow for his handling of the uprising against him and subsequent conflict.

Assad has said Turkish support was a key factor in helping militant Islamist insurgents seize the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib earlier this year.

Turkey denies that allegation and any suggestion it has delivered arms to Islamist militants fighting to overthrow Assad.

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This article originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

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