As explained by Indian Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar:
A Turkish F-4 Phantom fighter aircraft disappeared from radar screens shortly after taking off from the Erhach airbase in Malatya province in southeastern Turkey and entered Syrian airspace. According to Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), air-defense forces shot down the plane 1 kilometer off the coast from the Syrian port city of Latakia. A Turkish search-and-rescue aircraft rushed to the area of the crash but came under Syrian fire and had to pull out.
The Russian naval base at Tartus is only 90 kilometers by road from Latakia. The incident took place on a day that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem was on a visit to Russia.
It also happened within a week of Britain staging a high-profile publicity event to humiliate Russia by canceling the insurance of a ship when it was off the coast of Scotland en route to Syria from Russia's Baltic port in Kaliningrad.
But the point is, even within Turkey, there is skepticism about what really happened. The veteran Turkish editor Yousuf Kanli wrote:
"Did the plane violate Syrian airspace? ... On the other hand, why was the Turkish reconnaissance plane flying so low, in an area close to a Russian base, and why did it keep on going in and out of Syrian airspace so many times in the 15-minute period before it was downed? Was it testing the air-defense capabilities of Syria (or the Russian base) before an intervention which might come later this year?"
It’s quite a chess game.