Chinese FM: Downing of Russian Su-24 bomber in anti-ISIS op in Syria undermines intl efforts

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei © David Gray
The downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber over Syria while carrying out anti-terrorist operations is a great loss to the international efforts in the fight against terrorism, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

“We have taken note that the downed Russian plane was fulfilling a mission… It was downed while destroying terrorist targets in Syrian territory," Hong Lei said.

Late last month, China said the downing of the Russian jet-fighter by Turkey needed to be “further clarified.”

"China is deeply concerned about this issue," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told a press briefing when asked to comment, according to Xinhua.

Hong Lei said: “China supports all international efforts on anti-terrorism," adding that Beijing wants more communication between those involved.

Last week, Moscow started analyzing the Su-24’s flight recorder. It was opened live in front of international experts and journalists during a press conference. The Russian military has invited experts from 14 nations to work on the black box, but only China and British experts have so far agreed to take part, Lieutenant General Sergey Dronov, deputy commander of the Russian Air and Space Forces, told the media on Friday.

On November 24, a Turkish F-16 downed a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, killing one pilot and seriously straining relations between Moscow and Ankara. Turkey refused to apologize, insisting the Russian warplane had violated its airspace and had been warned many times before the F-16 fired its air-to-air missile. The Russian military has repeatedly stated the aircraft was shot down over Syria and that the Turkish fighter jet attacked from behind.

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In the wake of the incident, Moscow introduced multiple sanctions against Ankara, banning agricultural trade with Turkey, reintroducing a visa regime and suspending most bilateral economic projects.