(In second paragraph, corrects day to Saturday)
ISTANBUL, March 5 A Syrian air force pilot who
bailed out as his warplane crashed on Turkish territory has been
found by a Turkish rescue team and is being treated at a
hospital in the Hatay region, a hospital spokeswoman said on
Dogan news agency said the pilot, who crashed his plane on
Saturday, had been found around 40 km (25 miles) from the
wreckage. He was first taken to a gendarmerie base and then to
The 56-year-old pilot was identified as Mehmet Sufhan by
medical staff at the hospital, and they said he was not in
critical condition despite some fractures in his spine.
Television footage showed security measures had been taken
around and inside the hospital.
Syrian state television quoted an army source on Saturday
saying the air force had lost contact with a fighter jet on a
mission near the Turkish border. It gave no details.
It was unclear why the aircraft had crashed, whether it had
been attacked or suffered technical failure.
Combat operations by many militia and government forces come
close to Turkey's long frontier with Syria.
Turkey has been one of the foremost critics of Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad, and supports rebels fighting him in
the country's six-year-old war. It currently has armed forces
involved in operations along the Syrian side of the frontier.
Syrian state media said on Saturday its forces had been
expanding control over former Islamic State-held villages in
northwest Syria, an area close to Turkey's Hatay region where
the aircraft crashed.
The army's gains follow a push to the south and east of the
city of al-Bab, which was captured by Turkish-backed rebels late
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay. Editing by Jane Merriman)