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Russian warplane downing to cost Turkey dear: Iran general

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a senior military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei

A senior Iranian general has warned Turkey that its recent downing of a Russian fighter jet and its continued support for militants in Syria will cost Ankara dearly.

Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, who is senior military advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said on Thursday that Turkey committed a "tactical mistake" by shooting down the Russian Su-24 aircraft near the Syria border.

“In addition to [having been providing] assistance to hired terrorists for five years and causing insecurity in Syria and Iraq, [Turkey] committed a strategic mistake in this incident and these issues will definitely cost Turkey dearly,” said Safavi, who formerly served as the chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

The Iranian general, who was addressing a group of Basij volunteer fighters in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, said Turkey along with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan are engaged in an "unjust war" against the front comprising Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.

A Russian warplane crashes in flames in a mountainous area in northern Syria after it was shot down by Turkish fighter jets near the Turkish-Syrian border November 24, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

Turkey shot down the Russian jet with two pilots aboard on Tuesday morning, claiming the warplane had violated its airspace. One of the pilots was killed by militants in Syria after ejecting out of the targeted jet and another was rescued by the Syrian army.

Russia denies all of Ankara’s claims, saying that the jet was downed in Syrian airspace, where Moscow has been carrying out operations against Daesh Takfiri terrorists since September 30 upon a request by the Damascus government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had called the downing of the warplane “a stab in the back” by "the accomplices of terrorists," said on Thursday that Moscow is still waiting for an apology from Turkey or some assurances that “the culprits of this crime” will be punished.

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