The bodies of the Turkish F-4 airmen who were controversially shot down by Syria's air defence have been recovered from the Eastern Mediterranean today.
ABC Online, BBC News and UPI state in their respective reports that Turkish military leaders have announced the removal of the bodies of Captain Gokhan Ertan and Lieutenant Hasan Huseyin Aksoy from the sea floor has begun.
Their jet was shot down on June 22 after Damascus claimed it violated Syrian airspace. Turkey has hotly disputed this. The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recently expressed regret over the downing of the jet. However Mr. Assad did not offer any apology since he evidently believes that Syria is at no fault for taking that action under those circumstances.
Turkey has conceded that the jet did in fact accidentally violate Syrian airspace for a few minutes. However Turkey staunchly holds firm on its claim that the jet was shot down after that violation over international waters.
The Turkish military authorities have not disclosed exactly where the crews bodies were found. They have also stated that they have not yet found any wreckage from the jet itself.
On June 25 a Turkish search-and-rescue plane was shot at by the Syrians but not downed.