turkey shoots down a russian fighter jet on the border with syria, saying the plane violated its air space. i'm barbara sarah, you are watching al jazeera live from london. vladimir putin says it is a stab in the back from what he calls terrorist accomplices. the pilots are thought to be dead, and the helicopter searching for them has been destroyed on the ground. all of this as the french president arrives in washington, pushing his campaign to step up
the fight against isil. ♪ hello there. thank you for joining us. it's one of the most serious incidents when russia and a nato member in more than half a century. tush -- turkey has shot down a russian plane near the border saying it violated turkish air space. putin said it would have serious consequences for his country's relations with turkey. this complicating with francois hollande who is meeting with barack obama in washington. this hour we'll bring you reaction from all sides, but first this report from rob matherson. >> reporter: a russian jet fighter plunges to the ground.
turkey's government says turkey's aircraft shot it down close to the syrian border. >> translator: this is a stab in the back. the pilot did not threaten anyone. and the plane was shot down in syrian air space. this tragic event will have serious consequences. >> reporter: both pilots ejected and parachuted to the ground. russian military helicopters are reported to be searching for them near the border. the syrian opposition says it has the body of one of the pilots and that the second one is also dead. turkey has released a map which claims to show a russian plane through -- flew across its border with syria. >> turkey has been careful not to antagonize russia. turkey had in fact warned russia on a number of occasions that russian jets were entering
turkish air space. so the fact that turkey is feeling now bold enough to take this action, i think speaks volumes about turkey's new political confidence in this context. >> reporter: the jet is a russian built all weather attack aircraft has flown in almost all conflicts since it was first introduced in 1967. the russian government denies the jet enters turkish air space. turkey which is a ebb many of the nato alliance, says russian military aircraft have crossed the border without authorization several times. last month a plane flew into turkish's air space, and the prime minister described the incident as a mistake. he warned then that turkished arms forces had clear
instructions to intersent even a flying bird. russian jets are reported to be carrying out around a hundred attacks every day. rob matherson, al jazeera. syrian rebels say they have destroyed one of the russian helicopters searching for the pilots of the downed military jet. this video purports to show a helicopter being blown up on the ground in the latakia countryside. the syrian observatory for human rights which tracks the conflict in the country is quoting a rebel group which says used a missile to destroy the helicopter. russia says the helicopter had landed because of a technical problem and all on board are safe. hashem ahelbarra is live for us in turkey.
hashem obviously that border region has been incredibly volatile for a long time. turkey has previously accused russia of violating its air space. give us a sort of overall picture of how potentially dangerous this event could be. >> reporter: barbara, because turkey shares a long border with syria, and the situation has been volatile over the last few months with russia stepping up its push against the rebels and also against isil in the eastern part of the country. there have been instances according to the turkish government where russian fighter jets strayed into turkish territory, and that the -- they have been warned on and on that they should stop from flying near the -- the turkish air space. and that the russians took that
into consideration, except that in the past week or so, the turkish government summoned the russian ambassador expressing concerns about intensifying air strikes lead by the russian fighter jets in latakia against the turkmen community. this is a community of syrians of turkish origin who live on the border with turkey. the turkish foreign minister says if the air strikes continue then a serious situation will follow. this incident today is a reminder of how delicate is the situation now on the ground and how likely it is going to further strain ties between turkey and russia as both are key players in the crisis in syria. >> and hashem obviously you have outlined tensions between russia
and turkey. we assume there was political intent. just give us an idea of what might be going through the minds of turkish politicians who have just been emboldened by quite a solid win in the recent elections. >> reporter: barbara, the -- [ audio lost ] >> apologies -- >> reporter: and that it given the warnings to the -- >> apologies we're having trouble with the line. hashem ahelbarra is speaking to us in turkey very near the syrian border. we will of course be giving you more details on this story throughout the next few hours, and we will be speaking to hashem again sportily. until then, our correspondent is in syria. earlier in the day he spoke to
an opposition fighter who was in the area where the pilots parachuted down. >> translator: until now we don't know the fate of the second pilot. he may have been killed. for more we'll talk to this man. >> translator: the russian aircraft violated the air space and it was brought down in an area. the pilot was shot by the opposition fighters, he was shot while trying to land and he was killed. >> translator: where did it happen exactly? >> translator: it was on the right of the area, near an area called the northern big river. >> translator: what about the second pilot? >> translator: the second pilot dropped in the kurd mountain area. i have heard through my contacts that he may have been killed, but we don't know for sure about the second pie -- pilot.
>> reporter: the russian foreign minister has canceled his trip to turkey. he was due to meet his turkish counter to part on wednesday. instead he is warning russians to avoid travel to turkey all together. so let's listen again to the first comments made by vladimir putin on the downing of that fighter jet. >> translator: this is a stab in the back. the pilot did not threaten anyone. either way, our pilots and our plane were not posing a threat to turkey. this tragic event will have serious consequences for russian turkey relations. we have always regarded turkey as a close neighborhood, and friendly state. i don't know who wanted what happened today, but we didn't. instead of contacting us immediately, turkey contacted
nato. our jet fell 6 kilometers away from the border within syrian air space. >> rory challands is live in moscow. interesting the words being used there, rory, a stab in the back, the kind of language that you use for a friend who has betrayed you. how close is or was the relationship between rush and turkey recently? >> reporter: over the last few years it has been a pretty decent relationship. and apparently the two leaders have a fairly close affinity with each other, like each other quite a lot. but that relationship, obviously has been going sour over the last few months. it was soured particularly by the russian decision that it was going to start a bombing campaign in syria. the reason why this displeased turkey was because some of the
groups that russia has been targeting in syria are groups that are supported by the governments in anchora, particularly the turkmen operating in northern syria. so that started to displease the turkish first. after that there was a number of incidents just over a month ago, where russian planes started straying into turkish air space. the russians admitted to at least one of these events, and basically said, yes, we are did it. we're sorry. it was an accident f. it was because of bad weather and it won't happen again. nato weighed in and said yes, it better not happen again. and after that, the turkish and russian militaries got together and tried to make sure that this was an episode that wasn't repeated. well, how successful was that?
of course what we're looking at the moment is a sign that it wasn't very successful at all. >> rory we are expecting some kind of statement both from nato, the member countries are meeting in brussels, and also, i guess something out of the united states in a bit more detail. but turkey is one of the nato members. there is article 5, an attack on one is an attack on all. how likely do you think it is that russia would want to escalate anything right now? >> well, we are starting to see the first actions of push-back from the russians. we have heard from sergei lavrov saying he is no longer going to turkey tomorrow, wednesday. that was the planned visit he was going to make there, primarily to talk about gas, but also to talk about syria. of course in the light of events that are happening today, that visit is no longer going to
happen. the other thing russians are doing is advising all of their population not to visit turkey. now russians go to turkey in huge numbers. this is an off season at the moment. it's wintertime in turkey, but there are roughly 10,000 russians on holiday there. but that is one of the things the russians are hoping will signal their displeasure to turkey. if it stops there, then nato powers, i think will breathe a very big sigh of relief. because i don't think nato powers want this to escalate further, and russia is probably behind the scenes considering how far it can go in pushing back against turkey. if it stops there, then this will be probably a situation that will have avoided getting as bad as it could possibly have got. >> rory thank you. rory was mentioning nato,
now let go to neave barker live for us outside of the nato headquarters in brussels. neave obviously officially they haven't said anything yet. are you hearing anything about the kind of mood that there is? is there a focus on trying to calm the situation down? >> reporter: yes, you are right, we're about 15 minutes away from this extraordinary meeting. only six have been held in the past. that's how seriously nato is taking to hold this at the behest, of course, of turkey. it is being seen primarily as a chance to poor over the evidence and findings of the turkish military. so the permanent representative to nato, the turkish
representative will present those findings to the 28-nation block. it's attended by all of those represented permanently here at nato headquarters and chaired by the nato secretary general. but already ahead of that meeting, we are getting a sense that the main thrust of this gathering will be on de-escalating things from getting any worse. the relay -- relationship already ever since the annexation of crimea last year, has been pretty poor. so the escalation like this, although predicted by nato because there are so many players operating in this theater of war, the intention is to reduce tension as much as possible. it comes at a time in which global powers around the world
are responding unanimously in the wake of the attacks in paris, much more renewed effort in tackling isil, and destroying the group totally. so nato really has to tread very carefully indeed in its response and the kind of statement it gives later on. we believe already a very short written statement is what is expected, nothing like the kind of stronger responses we have seen from the alliance in the past, when there have been similar incurings by russia into turkey air space. >> and neave do we have any idea how long the meeting will take when we'll get a result or comment from the nato alliance? >> reporter: yes, we gather the meeting could go on for as long as three hours. after that the leader is expected to give a short written statement, and very little more than that is known at this current stage, other than the
fact that the main thrust of all of this is expected to be on deescalation rather than adding to tensions already at fever pitch. >> neave barker live at nato headquarters. neave of course we'll speak to you in the next few hours or so. for the moment, thank you. a russian fighter jet has been shot down by a turkish jet in syria. turkey says it repeatedly warned the aircraft. it also alleges the fighter flew into its an air space in the southern region which borders syria. syrian opposition forces control the region where the plane went down. activists there say the two pilots have been killed. video has emerged reportedly showing one of the crew. a spokesman for the u.s.-lead coalition has given a briefing on this incident. let's get more on that from
rosiland jordan in washington, d.c. what did they say? >> reporter: the spokesperson for what is called operation inherent resolve, colonel steve warren told reporters that turkey told the pentagon that it had warned the pilot and co-pilot of the russian su-24 several times upwards of 10 times in about five minutes before taking the decision to shoot down the su-24. the pentagon says because u.s. military personnel were not involved in this incident, they can't independently confirm, but they are saying this is what the turks have told them. the u.s. is also trying to conduct its own intelligence to try to figure out exactly where this incident between the turks and the russians took place. did it take place over turkish air space or over syrian air space as the russians have said
it happened. this is very much a situation that has the obama administration concerned, because it is just one more complication, and one more rift, which the officials in the administration had said they were very worried about when you have so many different countries trying to wage war against isil or in the case of the russians, allegedly going after opponents of the regime of bashar al-assad, you run the risk of having these sorts of incidents take place. so there is real concern here in washington barbara. >> absolutely. this is absolutely the last thing that the alliance needed. the french president francois hollande is meeting with barack obama, obviously francois hollande had this meeting planned anyway. he is trying to garner support for more of a push against isil in light of the attacks in paris last week. what do we think might come out of the meeting that the two -- that the two leaders will
have in how do you think that what happened today might effect that meeting and those talks? >> well, one of the things which the french wanted was to try to create what they are calling a grand coalition. and that would mean bringing in the russians. bringing in the iranians who up until now have been working at the behest of the government of bashar al-assad. well, because of this incident, there is now some concern among people who study these sorts of things that the russians might be much less inclined to wanting to work alongside the french, to work alongside the u.s. in trying to defeat isil because of what has happened with turkey. and so the u.s. has already found it difficult to persuade moscow that it needs to focus its energies on combatting isil and not combatting the opinnocence of any assad regime. this could be another
complicating factor. we are expecting to hear from both francois hollande and barack obama when they have a press conference in the next hour at the white house. and we may get some incite into how deeply their conversations went in terms of trying to, one, expand the coalition, which the u.s. had already set up to try to defeat isil, and two, whether there's any agreement on how much more military action should be taken. the u.s. has said it is not just military action, it is also going to take diplomatic and economic action as well to try to defeat isil. there is also going to be a meeting between the french defense minister, and the defense secretary, ash carter at the pentagon this afternoon. and we are expecting to get a readout of their discussions at a briefing later in the day. a lot of developments, lots of reaction. we will taking that news conference live here on al
jazeera. rosiland jordan for the moment, thank you so much for your analysis. and now let's speak to al jazeera's senior political analyst who is in doha for us. in the past ten, 11 days since those attacks in paris, we have really seen more of a momentum about this fight against isil, francois hollande going around the houses trying to garner more support, and now we see this. not a clash between isil and part of the coalition, but actually within the alliance itself. what do you think the potential for escalation is now between turkey and russia and also between russia and nato? er >> i don't think there is going to be any escalation between russia and nato. i think we'll probably see a certain tension rising between turkey and russia. this has been going on for a while now with russia starting its bombing campaign in syria,
with zero coordination with turkey and in fact directing some of its bombing against turkey's own allies in syria. imagine after the your next question crisis started that turkey sent its own air force to the ukraine, started bombing the opposition in eastern ukraine, the opposition loyal to moscow, and at one point had some of its planes veering into russian air space. this is basically how turkey sees the situation. it sees the russian presence as imposing, non-coordinated and it sees the way russia is defending the assad regime is menacing to turkey's policy and security. and now with france, the united states and russia trying to form this greater coalition against isil, turkey is also like some other countries in the region feeling that the emphasis
has gone away from focusing on the assad regime as the engine, as the driver behind the instability and extremism in the region to isil, and in the same -- in the same time, basically making the assad regime a part of the solution, or a part of the peace process if you will in syria. that is not to the liking of turkey. certainly turkey wants to be felt that it has the opposition -- that it has a role, and that it has a presence in the region. >> i guess this really highlights that even though we speak or politicians speak about this alliance against isil, it highlights how so many countries have their different agendas, and they are fighting against isil, but also against various other groups, so you don't seem to think that this is necessarily going to escalate, but then how could the powers
involved try to deescalate? do you think that's possible? >> for the time being it just seems this incident added to the whole complexity. one that even -- for someone like me who has been an observant of the area and geopolitics at play. i'm really at loss for the fact that, you know, after months of bombing by the americans now we have the russians bombing and now we have the french bombings, and before that there were the iraqis bombing, and now we might have the british bombing if prime minister cameron gets his way. and all for what? we have isis, increasing itself attacks, increasing its presence everywhere from libya to the sinai, on to afghanistan and pakistan. so there is also of this international involvement in syria, you know, not leading to
much safety for the syrians. syrians are suffering more. isil is increasing its power and attacks, and the only thing that is profiting out of all of this is probably some of thenar cyst leaders out there in the region and the world, as well as the military industrial complex as it were. >> a very complicated picture. senior political analyst who of course will be with us over the next few hours. for the moment, thank you. turkey and russia's recent relationship has been underpinned by trade worth billions of dollars. but the syrian war has created new tensions. >> reporter: turkey and russia have had a history of conflict for more than 400 years ago, to the first world war. in modern times relations were described as solid and based on
mutual interests and respect. in business terms the two countries trades tens of billions of dollars worth of goods every year. more than 50% of turkey's gas is supplied by russia. but the war in syria has soured their relations. president bashar al-assad is a major reason for the increasing tensions. russia backs assad, whereas turkey is doing everything possible to bring him down. >> the incident and previous tensions on the borders and issues of violating turkish air space and so on and so forth is a symptom of a greater problem. i think the message turkey is sending by confronting and downing this fighter jet is not only to moscow, it's also to washington and paris. and says something very simple. you can't maneuver politically or militarily in syria and ignore us at the same time.
>> reporter: tensions escalated in september when russia launched air strikes against isil and syrian opposition fighters. last month government leaders complained that two russian jets had violated turkish air space. russia's targets also triggered a harsh response from turkey. turkish leaders called for the united nations security council to hold a meeting to discuss russian air strikes in syria. more than 1,500 turkmen have fled their homes and headed towards the turkish border, but it seems the shooting down of the russian jet is going to restr restap -- reshape regional and international politics.
building a coalition. french president francois hollande visiting president obama at the white house to discuss the strategy to fight isil. turkey shooting down a russian war plane. vladimir putin calls it, quote, a stab in the back. secretary of state john kerry on a mission to israel trying to stop the violence that has left dozens of people dead. ♪ this is al jazeera america. i'm del walters live in new york city. we are following breaking news at this hour. french president francois hollande meeting with president obama at the white house. the two are talking about the fight against isil as hollande tries to build the stronger coalition in the wake of the
attacks in paris. but they are also talking about the shooting down of a russian war plane by turkish jets. turkey saying the plane crossed its air space near the syrian border. moscow warning there will be significant consequences. mike viqueira, the french participate is in town, looking for answers from president obama. >> reporter: del, it's difficult to talk about francois hollande's mission here at the white house without talking about this latest incident potentially explosive. the turkish shooting down of the russian war plane allegedly over turkish air space. this just complicates the mission even further. there has already been division between turkey and russia. russia and the united states, other allies in the region like saudi arabia, the united states and its allies want to see bashar al-assad go, russia does not. russ h