BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:00 P.M.) – A Turkish acquitted a Syrian military pilot of espionage charges on Tuesday after his plane was shot down along the Syria-Turkey border in 2017.
According to the Demiroren News Agency, the 58-year-old pilot was tried in absentia and acquitted by a Turkish court in the southern part of the Hatay Province.
The pilot was reportedly facing up to twelve years in prison for ‘spying’ and “attempting to destroy military installations”.
However, despite facing these espionage charges, the Turkish authorities agreed to release the Syrian pilot in October 2017; he would be subsequently returned to Syria shortly after.
The pilot was conducting a raid against a group of jihadist rebels in the northern countryside of the Latakia Governorate when a guided missile struck his plane, forcing him to eject inside Turkey.