Sat Mar 4, 2017 09:04PM
A Syrian army fighter jet (file photo)
A Syrian army fighter jet (file photo)
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Turkish troops have found and taken to hospital a Syrian pilot who bailed out as his warplane crashed near the two countries' border, the Dogan news agency says. 

The pilot, the agency said Sunday, had been found around 40 km from the wreckage of his aircraft and taken first to a gendarmerie base and then to Hatay region State Hospital.

The agency did not provide any details on his condition.

The Syrian army announced ​on Saturday evening to have lost contact with one of its reconnaissance planes.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim later confirmed that a Syrian MiG-23 jet had crashed in the town of Samandag in Turkey’s border province of Hatay.

The Ahrar al-Sham Takfiri militant group, which is active in the region, claims to have downed the plane but Yildirim said the reasons behind the plane’s crash was still not clear but "it may be due to weather conditions." 

According to Hatay Governor Erdal Ata, rescue teams had found the plane’s cockpit empty when they arrived at the scene.

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For nearly six years, Syria has been fighting foreign-sponsored militancy. The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimated in August last year that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the crisis until then. The world body stopped its official casualty count in the war-torn country, citing its inability to verify the figures it received from various sources.