The shooting down of the Russian Su-24 in Syria may provoke a Russian-Turkish conflict, military expert David Arutyunov said in an interview to EADaily.
“Turkey is a NATO member, and if Russia counteracts, things may turn any way. So, now everything depends on Russia. The Russians need to save their face. If they choose to counteract, they may face a brutal war,” Arutyunov said.
The expert does not doubt that the Russian bomber was shot down by Turkish destroyers. “Both official and unofficial sources have confirmed this. This incident appears to be part of the Russian-Turkish confrontation in Syria. Before Russia’s interference, Turkey was the boss there. But now it is losing control of the region and is getting nervous. So, it must have been a conscious decision to shoot down the Russian bomber. Otherwise, the Turks would have said that it was an accident and that they thought it was a Syrian plane. But they did not. Besides, it is simply impossible to take a Russian bomber for a Syrian one. Russian bombers behave differently,” Arutyunov said.
The expert prefers to believe the Russians. “The plane fell in the Syrian territory. This is not the first time Turkish planes are aiming at targets flying over Syria. After all, the Russian bomber had no reason to cross Turkey’s border, had it?”
According to Arutyunov, it was the Turks who shot down the Su -24. “By doing this they sought to show that they are a serious player in that region. It was a kind of an ultimatum - like ‘I am the boss here.’ Now it is the Russians’ turn to act and here they must be neither too soft nor too tough. They may well abstain from a tough countermeasures. Instead, they may send more destroyers to the Turkish-Syrian border,” the expert said.
The Russian bomber was shot down in the territory of Turkey and fell down in the territory of Syria. The Russians were not going to attack the Turkish territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin called this incident a “stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists” and added that it will have very seriously consequences for Russian-Turkish relations.