As we’ve reported to you earlier, a Russian Su-24M Fencer was shot down this morning after it allegedly violated Turkey’s sovereign airspace. “Facts” and “truth” are radically divergent at this point, so we’re sifting through what we actually know versus what is being reported.

The incident occurred very near to the Turkish border with Syria, close to where Turkey’s Hatay Province and Syria’s Latakia Province meet in wooded, mountainous terrain. Two Su-24s approached the southernmost tip of Turkey, and were warned via radio to change course 10 times over a period of approximately five minutes. The two Russian fighters, flying at an altitude of 19,000 feet, are alleged to have violated Turkish airspace for a total of 17 seconds at a depth of 1.15 miles and 1.36 miles, respectively, at approximately 0924 local time. The first aircraft diverted to the south, but the second aircraft stayed in Turkey’s airspace and was ultimately fired on by at least one of two Turkish F-16s flying combat air patrol (CAP) in the area.

Russian Su-24M Bomber Shot Down: Could This Mean War?
Turkish Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcons, seen here, engaged the Russian Su-24M as it violated their country’s airspace. (Photo courtesy of Turkish Air Force)

The Su-24 was reportedly struck by at least one missile and burst into flames, entering a steep dive and crashing in the Turkmen Mountains on the Syrian side of the border, approximately a mile to two miles from that nation’s border with Turkey. Both crew members were able to eject from the stricken aircraft before it crashed.

Here’s where the water gets really muddy, so we’ll break this down for you the best we can: