ANKARA — The bodies of the two pilots of a Turkish fighter jet that was shot down by Syria on June 22 have been recovered at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Turkish Army said July 4.
“The bodies [of the two pilots] have been recovered in the seabed and work is underway to bring them to the surface,” the Army said in a statement posted on its website.
The statement maintained that the two-seater F-4 Phantom was hit in international airspace by Syrian fire, but that the wreckage of the downed fighter has not yet been spotted.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said July 3 he regretted that his country’s defense forces shot down the jet, but insisted the plane was in Syrian airspace at the time of the shooting.
The incident has triggered a show of force between the two neighbors, which have reportedly massed troops near their common border.
Ankara also has deployed anti-aircraft and missile batteries to the border, after vowing a harsher response for future border violations by the Syrian Army.