Plane crash in Turkey as teams scramble to find ejected pilot

A fighter jet late Saturday crashed in the southernmost Turkish province of Hatay.

Pro-Ankara Daily Sabah reported that the plane crashed on the Turkish side of the border and that the pilot ejected safely.

Syrian opposition military group Ahrar al-Sham claimed it shot down the plane Saturday.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said a search was under way for the pilot - who could have come down over Turkey. "A search and rescue operation is under way".

Syrian government sources later reportedly confirmed that contact had been lost with a low-flying plane over Idlib, but said this was due to technical difficulties.

Ata added that there had been no airspace violation and no intervention by Turkish forces.

"There were three fires". Ammunition from the jet was lying on the ground, while the cockpit was a little off to the side. "There are still attempts by people to cross on foot and we intervene in that".

Turkish media said earlier that villagers had called authorities to report the crash at around 6.30pm local time.

Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu quoted a spokesman for the Islamist group Ahrar-al_sham, Ahmed Karaali, saying the regime plane was allegedly bombing Idlib province in northern Syria when it was shot down by the opposition forces.

  • Leroy Wright