NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday has condemned Russia's violation of Turkish airspace, second time in a row, after being deployed in Syria to counter Islamic state. "Substantial buildup of Russian forces in Syria includes ground troops in connection with the air base they have," he was quoted as saying.
"We also have seen two of them, two violations of Turkish airspace. Intelligence that we have received provides me with reason to say it doesn't look like an accident," he further added.
The first violation of Turkey's airspace was reported on Saturday and the second was on Sunday, officials reports added.
Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952, and according to alliance rules, any attack on one of the 28-member states is treated as an attack on all. Turkey and Russia are at odds over the civil war in Syria, with Moscow backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russian jet hits Islamic State targets in Syrian Palmyra
Weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin received permission from the Russian Parliament to intervene in Syrian war, the ground equations are shifting. Russian forces are battling the Islamic state and reclaiming lost territories. On Tuesday, according to reports, Russian jets hit Islamic State targets in the Syrian city of Palmyra and the northern province of Aleppo.
The strikes destroyed 20 vehicles and 3 weapons depots in Islamic State-held Palmyra, the report added. In Aleppo, they hit the towns of Al-Bab and Deir Hafer, about 20 km east of a military airport currently besieged by Islamic State fighters.
Al-Manar television, run by the Lebanese Hezbollah group which is allied to President Bashar al-Assad, said the Russian air force also carried out four raids in the Jabal al-Zawiya area in the northwestern province of Idlib.
Islamic State forces captured Palmyra in May, an advance which brought them closer to the core of government-held territory in western Syria. It also put the city's Roman-era ruins under the militants' control.
With agency inputs