Rebels hand over Russian pilot’s body to Turkish government

ANKARA, Turkey,  The body of a Russian pilot killed by rebels in Syria after his jet was downed by Turkey’s military has been handed over to Turkish authorities.

A Russian Su-24 crashing in flames in a mountainous area in northern Syria after it was shot down by Turkish fighter jets near the Turkish-Syrian border, is seen in this still image taken from video November 24, 2015. Both pilots were able to eject, but were shot at by Turkmen rebels in Syria as they descended. One pilot survived, the deceased pilot's body was turned over to Turkish authorities Sunday and will be returned to Russia. UPI | License Photo
A Russian Su-24 crashing in flames in a mountainous area in northern Syria after it was shot down by Turkish fighter jets near the Turkish-Syrian border, is seen in this still image taken from video November 24, 2015. Both pilots were able to eject, but were shot at by Turkmen rebels in Syria as they descended. One pilot survived, the deceased pilot’s body was turned over to Turkish authorities Sunday and will be returned to Russia. UPI | License Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pilot, Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov, received Orthodox funeral rites, at Russia’s request, and his body will be returned to Russia, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglusaid Sunday.

Russia and Turkey have fiercely disagreed on the circumstances surrounding the shooting down of the Russian SU-24 fighter jet on Tuesday. Turkey said the Russian jet was in its airspace and warned 10 times to divert course or face being shot down, but Russia and the surviving pilot said no warning was received.

Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin was rescued and returned to Russia, but he said he wants to return to combat in Syira because “someone has to pay” for his co-pilot’s death.

Peshkov died when Turkmen rebels shot at him as he and his colleague were parachuting down in an attempt to land within government-held territory.

Russia said the attack ofnthe aircraft was “an act of aggression” that warrants retaliatory economic sanctions that include restricting tourist travel, suspending military communications and scrutinizing food imports. Turkey warned citizens against non-urgent travel to Russia “until the situation becomes clear.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Saturday authorizing economic measures against Turkey, including an import ban on certain Turkish goods and a mandate preventing Russian travel agencies from carrying out tours in Turkey, a key tourist destination for Russians.

By Andrew V. Pestano

UPI NEWS