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Russia invading Turkish airspace no "accident": U.S. official

Syria's Assad says Russian airstrikes essenti... 02:03

ANKARA, Turkey - A U.S. defense official dismissed Russia's claim that one of its warplanes entered Turkish airspace "by mistake."

The incident comes amid Turkish concerns over Russian airstrikes in Syria that have targeted some foreign-backed insurgents. Turkey - along with NATO ally the U.S. and others -- have conflicting positions with Russia on the Syrian regime, with Russia backing President Bashar Assad and Turkey insisting on his ouster.

"Obviously, along with quite a bit of Russia's behavior in Syria right now this just confirms our deep concern over what they're doing and continues to call into question their intent, and certainly raises questions about basic safe combat, professional behavior in the skies," a senior U.S. defense official told CBS News. The official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss sensitive military matters and spoke on condition of anonymity, added: "I don't believe this was an accident."

Turkey said Monday that a Russian warplane along the Syrian border violated its airspace, prompting it to scramble F-16 fighter jets and summon the Russian ambassador in protest, reports CBS News correspondent Holly Williams.

A fighter jet believed to be Russian is seen flying over Latamneh, in the northern Syrian governate of Hama, Sept. 30, 2015, in video posted online by anti-government activists.
A fighter jet believed to be Russian is seen flying over Latamneh, in the northern Syrian governate of Hama, Sept. 30, 2015, in video posted online by anti-government activists.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed Monday to take all necessary measures to protect Turkey's borders from violation.

Russia admitted the plane had entered Turkey but insisted it was "by mistake." They tried to assure Ankara it would not happen again.

In Madrid, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday that the U.S. is conferring with Turkish leaders about the infringement.

Davutoglu said during an interview with Haber Turk television that NATO-member Turkey would enforce its rules of engagement if its airspace is violated. Those rules call for the treatment of any element approaching the Turkish border from Syria as an enemy.

"The Turkish Armed Forces have their orders," he said. "The necessary will be done even if it's a bird that violates Turkey's border ... Our rules of engagement are clear."

Obama: Russia will get bogged down in Syria 02:24

A Foreign Ministry statement said Monday that a Russian warplane entered Turkey's airspace near the town of Yayladagi, in Hatay province on Saturday. Two F-16 jets intercepted the Russian aircraft and forced it to fly back into the Syrian airspace.

Also Monday, Turkey's military said a MIG-29 jet had harassed two Turkish F-16s for five minutes and 40 seconds on Sunday by locking its radar onto them. In a brief statement, the military said the incident occurred while 10 F-16s were patrolling the Turkish-Syrian border. The military said it did not know which country the MIG-29 belonged to.

Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador and demanded that Russia avoid future infringements, the Foreign Ministry statement said. It warned that Russia would be held "responsible for any undesired incident," that may occur. The same message was also relayed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov by telephone.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed solidarity with Turkey and said the situation would be taken up at a meeting later on Monday.

"I call on Russia to fully respect NATO airspace and to avoid escalating tensions with the Alliance," Stoltenberg said. "I urge Russia to take the necessary steps to align its efforts with those of the international community in the fight against ISIL."

Tensions increase as Russia targets ISIS in S... 02:17

Davutoglu told Haber Turk television that Russia assured Turkey that the airspace would not be violated again.

"The information we got from Russia this morning is that it was an incident that occurred by mistake," he said. "They said they are respectful of Turkey's borders and that it would not happen again."

Last week, Turkey issued a joint statement with its allies involved in the U.S.-backed campaign against the Islamic State group asking Moscow to cease attacks on the Syrian opposition and to focus on fighting the IS.

On Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Russian airstrikes were unacceptable and a grave mistake that could alienate Moscow in the region.

Russia says the airstrikes that began Wednesday are targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, but at least some of the strikes appear to have hit Western-backed rebel factions.

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