As Western and Turkish military leaders prepare for a pipe ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels later today over the downing of a Turkish fighter jet by Syria, a Russian report blames the incident on a failed NATO spooks operation.
RT, the first Russian 24/7 English-language news channel that carries the Russian view on global news, writes this morning:
“The Turkish military jet’s incursion into Syria may have been a botched NATO operation on counterfeiting Syrian military aircraft ID in order to fool the country’s air defense. The necessary codes could have been ‘borrowed’ from the Syrian fighter that had been stolen by its defector pilot.
“This theory, explaining why the Turkish reconnaissance plane entered Syrian airspace before being taken down, was voiced by Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, which cited unnamed sources in the Syrian security forces.
“Syrians believe the Friday incident has its roots in last week’s defection of a Syrian pilot who escaped in his MiG-21 fighter jet to Jordan. Damascus branded the defector a traitor, while Jordanian authorities gave him asylum.
“The defection brings memories of a similar incident that took place in February 2011, when two Libyan pilots ‘delivered’ their military aircraft to Malta. NATO’s bombing campaign, which ended with the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi’s government, started just a month later.
“Military analysts note that, curiously, the Libyan air defense systems appeared to be helpless against NATO’s airstrikes. The explanation may lie in the friend-or-foe systems that the two stolen aircraft had onboard, the newspaper suggests. This system is used by the military in combat to distinguish their own aircraft.
“According to the newspaper, the Syrian military believe that NATO took a similar approach again, but failed to properly decipher the codes. This is evident by the fact that the defector pilot managed to send his family to Turkey before stealing the fighter jet, which means the act was probably not done out of a sudden emotional breakdown.
“NATO may have tasked Turkey to test how well the job was performed, and the result was disastrous, the report explains.
“This is only a theory and more trivial explanations cannot be ruled out – but the intrusion is more likely to have been part of a military operation rather than the mistake Turkey claims it to be, military experts say.”