Syrian airspace closed to Turkey for fourth day

No Turkish Armed Forces helicopters or warplanes have entered Syrian airspace since Feb. 4, the day after a Russian plane was shot down in the area of Idlib, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said.

The newspaper cited a report saying that Russia was introducing a new air defence system and saying that the Turkish air force was expecting to be allowed back into Syria to support the ongoing Turkish military campaign in the Afrin region after the installation was completed.

Syrian opposition fighters are thought to have downed the Russian Su-25 fighter jet using a shoulder-mounted ground-to-air missile system, the newspaper said, and Russia had closed Syrian airspace while installing a counter-system.

Turkish government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ said on Monday night that Afrin’s airspace was open, but security sources told Cumhuriyet that Turkish warplanes and helicopters had only been patrolling the Turkish side of the Syrian border and not crossing since then.

The Turkish military has not mentioned any air operations in its daily reports since the morning of Monday Feb. 5, Cumhuriyet said.