Two Turkish pilots thought to have perished when their jet was shot down by Damascus on June 22 were actually rescued, interrogated and murdered by Syrian intelligence services, secret documents released tonight by Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya news channel purport to show.
“Two Turkish pilots were captured by the Syrian Air Force Intelligence after their jet was shot down in coordination with the Russian naval base in [the Syrian city of] Tartus,” according to a document released by Al-Arabiya that was allegedly sent directly from President Bashar al-Assad’s office to Brig. Hassan Abdel Rahman, the chief of Syria’s Special Operations Unit.
The document reportedly ordered the concerned parties to treat the two pilots, Air Force Cpt. Gökhan Ertan and Air Force Lt. Hasan Hüseyin Aksoy, according to the protocol of war prisoners, while also requesting that both men be investigated about Turkey’s role in supporting the Free Syrian Army, the main group of opposition militants fighting to overthrow Syria’s government.