WARNING: Graphic.

The rebels were also using the pilot as target practice as he parachuted down.

(Reuters) – Turkey said its warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter on Monday after it crossed into Turkish airspace and the government warned it had taken all necessary measures to defend itself against any further such violations.

Turkey scrambled two F-16 jets along the border between its southern Hatay province and Syria after warning the Mi-17 helicopter it was approaching Turkish airspace shortly before 14:30 (1130 GMT), the military said in a statement.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said a warplane shot down the helicopter after it ventured up to 2 km into Turkey near the border town of Yayladagi. “It was repeatedly warned by our air defense elements,” he said.

It came down in a ball of flames inside Syrian territory after being hit, amateur video footage showed.