Turkey and the rebels it backs northern Syria had the right to defend themselves against Russian airstrikes, State Department spokesman told reporters. The rebels reportedly killed one Russian pilot who ejected from the jet hit by a Turkish missile.
During the regular press briefing, Mark Toner said the Syrian government did not have such a right, though.
When asked by RT’s Gayane Chichakyan if the State Department considered the rebels who reportedly killed the Russian pilots “moderates,” Toner replied:
“We’ve seen conflicting reports. One pilot may not have been killed. If these ‘Turkomen’ were actually being attacked by Russian strikes, they have every right to defend themselves.”