Putin has retaliated against the Turkmen in Latakia, Syria (west coast) who killed one of his pilots yesterday as he parachuted out of his plane that was shot down by Turkey, heavily bombing them from both air and sea:
YAHOO NEWS – Russian forces launched a heavy bombardment against insurgent-held areas in Syria’s Latakia province on Wednesday, near where a Russian warplane had been shot down by Turkey the day before, rebels and a monitoring group said.
At least 12 air strikes hit Latakia’s northern countryside as pro-government forces clashed with fighters from al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and Turkmen insurgents in the Jabal Akrad and Jabal Turkman areas, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
A Turkmen commander said missiles fired from Russian warships in the Mediterranean were also hitting the area, as well as heavy artillery shelling.
Hassan Haj Ali, the head of Liwa Suqour al-Jabal, a rebel group operating in western Syria, also said there were fierce battles in the area, with Russian aircraft supporting pro-government forces.
Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane that it said had entered Turkish airspace, something denied by Moscow.
It crashed in the Jabal Turkman area, the Observatory said.
Both pilots bailed out. The Russian Defence Ministry said one had been shot dead from the ground as he parachuted down, but that one was safe and had returned to Russia’s air base in western Syria.
However, a deputy commander of rebel Turkmen forces in Syria said on Tuesday that his men had shot both pilots dead as they parachuted down.
There have been strikes for several weeks in Latakia province, whose capital of the same name is Assad’s coastal stronghold, but the Observatory said Wednesday’s bombardments were particularly heavy.
— RT (@RT_com) November 25, 2015
The surviving pilot said on Russian TV that he never flew into Turkish airspace and there was no warning before his plane was shot down by Turkey:
MIRROR – The surviving pilot of a Russian jet downed by Turkey has said there were no warnings before they were struck out of the sky, it’s reported.
Captain Konstantin Murakhtin told a Russian TV station that his plane was flying over Syrian territory and did not violate Turkish airspace.
Speaking for the first time since the incident yesterday, the pilot said he knew the region like the back of his hand and “couldn’t possibly have flown into Turkish airspace”.
Mr Murakhtin was rescued early on Wednesday by Russian and Syrian commando and was speaking in televised comments from the Russian Hemeimeem air base in Syria.
He said Turkey did not give any visual or radio signal before they downed the jet.
Vladimir Putin has said the Captain Murakhtin and his rescuers should be decorated for bravery, it was earlier reported.
The president has praised the navigator and said he will be awarded the Order of Courage, according to AFP.
The dead pilot has posthumously been named a Hero of Russia, the country’s highest military award.
Captain Murakhtin is “safe and sound” at an air base in Latakia province after being rescued in an overnight 12-hour rescue operation.