MELBOURNE: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today called for Russia and Turkey to "exercise restraint" following the shooting down of a Russian jet near the Turkey-Syria border, saying the incident underscored the need for a political solution to end the Syrian crisis.
"We urge both leaders, both countries, to exercise restraint with respect of this," he said, appealing to the two countries to not make the situation worse.
"This is a very, very complex theatre, both in terms of the various elements within Syria and then the various external players. It underlines the need for there to be a political settlement," Turnbull said.
Turkey had shot down the Russian jet which it claimed had crossed over into its territory, killing at least one of the pilots on board. Russia said its jet was shot down over Syria and warned of serious consequences.
The Australian Prime Minister said the federal government was paying "close attention" to the safety of its pilots over Syria, according to media reports here.
"Its essential for all of the parties in that increasingly complex conflict to have a high degree of awareness of where each other's military assets are being deployed. We are paying very close attention to that and of course the safety of our personnel," he said.
Turnbull said Australian RAAF Hornet jets were operating under a memorandum of understanding signed between the US-led anti-ISIS coalition and Russia to try and avoid such
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has expressed fears for the safety of Australian pilots in Syria following the downing of the jet.
The downing of the fighter jet highlighted the danger Australian airforce personnel are in, he said.