Turkish forces are said to have shot down a Russian jet after it flew into the country’s airspace, according to unconfirmed reports on social media.
It has been claimed by eyewitnesses that there was a large explosion in Huraytan, northern Syria, while three fighter planes were seen overhead.
Rumours of a jet being shot out of the sky come amid heightening tensions between Russian president Vladimir Putin and the West.
The Russians are supposed to be bombing ISIS targets, but it seems the majority of their missiles are hitting areas where the extremist group is not present.
U.S. officials said this week that Russia – a key ally of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad – has directed parts of its air campaign against U.S.-funded and other moderate opposition groups in a concerted effort to weaken them.
However, Russia has claimed its forces hit 55 ISIS targets in Syria in the 24 hours to Saturday – although Putin’s jets were also a key factor in helping Syrian troop to seize a village in the centre of the country which was not ISIS-controlled.
The Russians – who have announced plans to increase the number of strikes against ISIS targets – have also clashed with Turkey, after one of their bombers violated Turkish airspace.
But neither side has yet said whether rumours of another of Russia’s planes was shot down in a separate confrontation.
According to the Daily Express, one journalist tweeted that three Turkish planes had been responding to ‘mysterious’ lock-ons from MIG-29 jets, which are used by Putin’s forces.
MailOnline has approached both the Russian and Turkish authorities for a comment.
A spokesman for Nato said it had so far received no reports of a plane being shot down.
Details of the reported incident emerged after the Pentagon announced that Russia had agreed to resume talks with the US on air safety during Syria bombing campaigns.
Press secretary Peter Cook said the talks were ‘likely to take place as soon as this weekend’.
Nato and the US have been alarmed at violations of Turkish air space by Russian planes.
Earlier this week Nato urged Moscow to end air strikes on the Syrian opposition as fighter jets were scrambled to intercept Russian warplanes that had violated Turkish airspace.
Turkey sent two F-16 jets to head-off a Russian fighter that violated its airspace near the Syrian border last weekend.
At an emergency meeting, NATO warned of the ‘extreme danger’ of such violations and condemned the incursions.
Last week Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: ‘Our rules of engagement are clear whoever violates our airspace.
‘The Turkish Armed Forces are clearly instructed. Even if it is a flying bird, it will be intercepted,’ he added, while playing down the idea of ‘a Turkey-Russia crisis’.
Yesterday it emerged ISIS had taken advantage and launched a new offensive in Aleppo province following Russia’s decision to target Free Syrian army rebels and Al-Qaeda affiliated groups.
The jihadi group released a statement confirming they had taken over the ‘strategic’ infantry academy close to Aleppo’s northern industrial area.
US jets have reportedly been told to keep 20 miles from the Russian jets to avoid getting caught up in clashes, providing ISIS with the chance to make rapid gains without fear of coalition strikes.
- Turkish Jets Bomb US-Backed Troops in Iraq and Syria
- Trump shows lack of interest in keeping promises: Syrian president Assad
- ISIS bombed Russia's FSB headquarters, not neo-nazis as initially claimed
- Israeli Warplanes Launch Missile Attack on Syria
- MOAB Bombing of Afghanistan Successful, 92 ISIS Fighters Dead