Kurdish lead Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed the downing of a Turkish T-129 attack helicopter in the highly contested Afrin region. Turkish President Erdogan acknowledged the aircrafts downing and the death of two servicemen, vowing retaliation against the perpetrators.
A grainy video has surfaced on twitter today of the SDF shoot down of a Turkish attack helicopter over the skies of Afrin. The incident has been confirmed according to both Turkish and Kurdish officials. According to Reuters, speaking in Istanbul Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan stated that,
“One of our helicopters was downed just recently,” he said. Adding, “These things will happen, we are in a war… We might lose a helicopter, but they’ll pay the price for this.”
This is the first downing of a Turkish aircraft during the Syrian-civil war and the current three-week operation “Olive Branch” along the Syrian border. Turkish troops and their allies have been attacking Kurdish positions attempting to create a buffer zone between them and the SDF.
The alleged video of the incident appears to show a pair of Turkish made T-129 attack helicopters orbiting a village in the mountainous region of western Afrin. While one of the helicopters is conducting a slow turn over the valley, the second can be seen rapidly falling to the earth. The aircraft crashes out of view of the camera and the smoke begins to bellow up the mountain side.
The Second T-129 swoops in low over the village – firing flares and likely trying to locate his crashed wingman. The video concludes but provides no clear evidence into the manner of how the helicopter was shot down.