DAMASCUS, Syria – A Syrian military spokesman says Turkey’s armed forces have shot down a Syrian warplane near the countries’ border, and called the act a “blatant aggression.”

The unnamed spokesman was quoted by Syrian state TV as saying the plane was downed Sunday in Syrian airspace as it was attacking rebels who have been on the offensive in the coastal province of Latakia. The spokesman said the pilot ejected from the aircraft.

Turkey is among the main backers of Syrian opposition fighters trying to remove President Bashar Assad from power.

The downing of the plane came as Syrian government troops were trying try regain a border crossing point with Turkey near the town of Kassab that rebels captured Friday.