Turkey Takes Down a Russian Warplane

Updated on November 24 at 10:47 a.m. ET

Turkey has shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border after the aircraft violated its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, according to the Turkish military.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday that one of its jets had crashed in northwestern Syria “presumably as a result of shelling from the ground,” The New York Times reported. Later, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is in Sochi meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II, said at a press conference that the warplane was struck by air-to-air-missiles launched by Turkish fighter jets, The Guardian reported.

The Turkish military said its forces issued 10 warnings to the jet, a Sukhoi SU-24, after it entered its airspace near the Turkey-Syria border, according to CNN. Turkish military then “responded” when the warplane ignored the warnings. It also released radar images of what officials say shows the Russian aircraft flying over the country’s southern tip.

This is the first time a Russian or Soviet military aircraft has been shot down by a NATO member since the 1950s.

Putin called the downing of the plane “a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists.” He said the warplane did not violate Turkey’s airspace.

The warplane’s two pilots were able to eject themselves from the aircraft before it crashed. They came under fire by a Syrian rebel group, and both were killed as they parachuted the ground, Reuters reported.

The downing of the warcraft will likely further escalate tensions between Turkey and Russia. Moscow’s recent intervention in Syria has aggravated Ankara; Russian air strikes have targeted Turkish-backed rebel groups who are fighting against the Assad government, which Turkey opposes, and Russian warplanes in Turkish skies at least twice last month without permission.

NATO has called an emergency meeting, requested by Turkey. “The aim of this extraordinary NAC meeting is for Turkey to inform allies about the downing of a Russian airplane,” a NATO spokesperson told the AP.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has canceled a planned visit to Turkey on Wednesday. Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was summoned to the offices of Turkey’s foreign ministry, according to Russian news agency Sputnik.

Reuters reports that Syrian fighters forced a Russian helicopter to make an emergency landing in Syria’s Latakia province on Tuesday, and then destroyed it with an anti-tank missile, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The rebel group released a video showing the helicopter go up in flames.

In his remarks Tuesday, Putin mentioned a deconfliction agreement Moscow signed with Washington after Russian forces began bombing extremists in Syria last month in order to avoid dangerous clashes in a shared airspace.

“Taking into account that we signed an agreement on deconflicting with the U.S., and as we know Turkey was among the ones that has joined the U.S. coalition,” he said, referring to the U.S.-led mission of several nations that carries out near daily strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. Turkey joined in the effort in late August.

This is a breaking story and will be updated with more information.

What We’re Following This Morning

Why are so many kids with bright prospects killing themselves in Palo Alto?

The air shrieks, and life stops. First, from far away, comes a high whine like angry insects swarming, and then a trampling, like a herd moving through. The kids on their bikes who pass by the Caltrain crossing are eager to get home from school, but they know the drill. Brake. Wait for the train to pass. Five cars, double-decker, tearing past at 50 miles an hour. Too fast to see the faces of the Silicon Valley commuters on board, only a long silver thing with black teeth. A Caltrain coming into a station slows, invites you in. But a Caltrain at a crossing registers more like an ambulance, warning you fiercely out of its way.

The kids wait until the passing train forces a gust you can feel on your skin. The alarms ring and the red lights flash for a few seconds more, just in case. Then the gate lifts up, signaling that it’s safe to cross. All at once life revives: a rush of bikes, skateboards, helmets, backpacks, basketball shorts, boisterous conversation. “Ew, how old is that gum?” “The quiz is next week, dipshit.” On the road, a minivan makes a left a little too fast—nothing ominous, just a mom late for pickup. The air is again still, like it usually is in spring in Palo Alto. A woodpecker does its work nearby. A bee goes in search of jasmine, stinging no one.

Welcomed to Europe

Every day this year, thousands of refugees make the dangerous journey from their war-torn homelands to Europe. Many arrive without food or money; many are children. And as politicians debate whether or not these migrants can find refuge from persecution, volunteers are working to provide them with basic care. Al Jazeera reports that many of these volunteers are Europeans on vacation, and they fill in the gaps while larger organizations, like the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, mount a more formal response. “It gets to a certain point where you can’t just watch and wait anymore,” Polly Rola, an Austrian who travelled to a remote village of Croatia to help, said to the news service. “We had some time and some money, so here we are.”

Steve McCurry’s India

This month, the Rubin Museum of Art will display a selection of images from Steve McCurry’s travels to India over the last three decades. The photographs of the people, monuments, and landscapes of India, some of which have never before been published, are all endowed with McCurry’s trademark bursts of color. The Magnum photographer’s exhibit also corresponds to the release of his new book, India, which features 150 images of subcontinent. “No matter how much the country is changing,” he told Time, “there’s something about India that makes you feel like you’re stepping back into another time and age.”

Hostage Crisis in Mali: What We Know

Updated on November 20 at 9:12 a.m. ET

Gunmen in Mali have killed at least three people and taken 170 guests and staff members hostage at a luxury hotel in the capital city of Bamako, according to multiple reports.

“The attackers, carrying AK-47s, arrived around 7 a.m. in a vehicle or vehicles with diplomatic plates,” one United Nations spokesman told CNN.

Details remain sketchy so far. Estimates of the number of attackers involved have ranged from as few as two to as many as 13. There have also been no claims of responsibility yet, however, some guests who were able to prove their Muslim faith were reportedly released. Of the three people killed, two were said to be Malian nationals while the other was French.

A rescue operation involving special security forces is currently underway and, according to state radio, 80 of the hostages have been freed. Another report suggests that 136 people—124 guests and 12 employees—still remain captive including a number of foreign tourists.

“Two members of the Malian security forces were wounded by shots fired from the seventh floor of the hotel and were taken away by ambulance,” one local reporter on the scene told The New York Times. Malian army commander Modibo Nama Traore told the AP that hostages were being freed “floor by floor.”

Twelve members of an AirFrance crew that were staying at the hotel are among those reported safe. As a precaution, the airline has canceled all flights to the former French colony. According to Reuters, several Chinese tourists and a few members of a Turkish Airlines crew remain trapped inside the hotel. American special-operations forces are also said to be assisting at the scene.

Mali has been in a protracted battle against terrorism since 2012 when the northern part of the country was taken over by Islamist insurgents aligned with al Qaeda. French troops intervened and eventually won back the territory.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was attending a regional summit in Chad, is on his way back to Bamako. French President Francois Hollande has pledged France’s support, saying “we will use all the means available to us on the ground to free the hostages.”

We will be updating this story as we learn more.