Nearly two weeks after their reconnaissance jet was shot down by Syrian military, the bodies of the two Turkish pilots have been found at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.
The bodies of Captain Gökhan Ertan and Lieutenant Hasan Hüseyin Aksoy were recovered by rescue teams after their F-4 Phantom jet was shot down on June 22 in an act which has escalated tensions between Turkey and Syria, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
While the Turkish government claims that the jet was shot down in international airspace in a clear violation of international law, the Syrian military claims that the pilots violated its sovereign airspace, prompting anti- aircraft gunners to target the jet.
In a recent Wall Street Journal report, an anonymous United States government official corroborated the Syrian military’s version of events.
The official told the newspaper that the jet was flying inside of Syrian airspace.
The incident sparked off an international war of words between Ankara and Damascus, with the Turkish government calling for a special session of NATO in order to review possible reactions to the incident.
NATO countries condemned the Bashar Al-Assad regime for the incident and vowed to “stand together with Turkey.”
Turkey deployed troops, armoured personnel carriers, and anti-aircraft weapons to the Syrian-Turkish border shortly after the NATO meeting.