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Turkish F-16 fighter jets shoot down Russian warplane near Syrian border

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ANKARA — Turkish fighter jets have shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border after it violated Turkey’s airspace, military officials say.

Turkish F-16s warned the plane over the airspace violations before shooting it down, a military official said, adding that the plane’s origin was not clear.

Two jets were involved in the shooting of the plane after it was warned 10 times in five minutes, Turkey’s military said.

Russia’s defence ministry told the Interfax news agency that the downed jet was Russian and said Turkish airspace was not violated.

Moscow confirmed that the downed jet was a Sukhoi Su-24.

Footage from private broadcaster Haberturk TV showed a warplane going down in flames in a woodland area, a long plume of smoke trailing behind it.

The plane went down in area known by Turks as Turkmen Mountain in northern Syria near the Turkish border, Haberturk said.

Separate footage from Turkey’s Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the jet before it crashed.

Al Jazeera’s Arabic Service tweeted that one of the pilots had been captured.

Russia has repeatedly carried out air strikes in Syria in defence of president Bashar al-Assad.

Turkey called this week for a UN Security Council meeting to discuss attacks on Turkmens in neighbouring Syria, and last week Ankara summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the bombing of their villages.

Ankara has traditionally expressed solidarity with Syrian Turkmens, who are Syrians of Turkish descent.

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has spoken with the chief of military staff and the foreign minister about the developments on the Syrian border, the prime minister’s office said in a statement, without mentioning the downed jet.

He has ordered the foreign ministry to consult with NATO, the United Nations and related countries on the latest developments, his office said.

Reuters/ABC

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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