Russian Fighter Jet Shot Down at Turkey-Syria Border
Russia said Tuesday one of its Su-24 fighter jets was shot down along the border between Turkey and Syria, but said "firing from the ground" was responsible for downing the plane.
Turkish military officials, however, said their F-16 jets shot down the plane after it violated the country's airspace and ignored 10 warnings in the span of five minutes to leave.
Russia's defense ministry said the jet never left Syrian territory. Russia also said its pilots ejected, but that their status was unknown. Video from the area appeared to show two pilots parachuting down from the sky, and Turkey's Dogan news agency said Russian helicopters were searching the area.
A Kremlin spokesman called it a "very serious incident" but said it was too early to draw conclusions.
A U.S. State Department spokesman says they cannot confirm press reports that Turkish jets have downed a warplane of unknown origin, but are monitoring the situation closely.
Pope Urged to Press Human Rights Issues in Africa
Pope Francis begins his first official visit to Africa Wednesday, with stops planned in Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic -- a trip that human rights advocates hope he will use to press for expanded political rights, religious tolerance, and respect for minorities.
The pope makes his first stop in Kenya Wednesday, where he will visit the slum of Kangemi, in keeping with his advocacy for the poor.
He is also expected to highlight the effects of climate change, having previously said the underprivileged are disproportionately affected by changes in weather patterns. And he will meet with leaders of different faiths, in an effort to address Kenya's history of violence between religious groups.
Human Rights Watch has sent a letter to the pope outlining a list of concerns the group hopes he will address during his African visit. It called for the pope to address human rights violations in all three of his destinations.