Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 24, 2015

The Two Versions Of The Latakia Plane Incident

Edited and updated

Turkey says two of its F-16 fighters shot down a jet that had crossed into Turkey and then crashed in Syria:

Two Turkish F-16's shot down a Russian-made SU-24 jet on Nov. 24 near the Syrian border after it violated Turkish airspace, presidential sources said.

Turkey shot down the jet after it failed to heed the warnings within the rules of engagement.

Initial reports said the jet belonged to Russia, but presidential sources later clarified that the jet's nationality was unknown.

The Turkish Armed Force also stated that the jet of “unknown nationality” had been warned 10 times in five minutes about its violation of the border.

Meanwhile, a Turkish official told Reuters that two warplanes approached Turkish border and were warned before one of them was shot down.

The jet was Russian SU-24. One pilot was killed and the body is in the hands of "rebels". At the of a video the "rebels" made of the dead pilot they call themselves "mujahideen". One picture shows the body with two bullet holes in the chests suggesting that he was illegally executed. A rebel source claims that he was shot while parachuting from the burning plane. That is a war crime under the Geneva Convention. A second pilot was probably wounded but was said to have landed somewhere in Syrian army covered territory. The search for him is ongoing.

Russia's official version of the incident is remarkably different from Turkey's:

Today an aircraft from the Russian air group in the Syrian Arab Republic crashed on the territory of Syria supposedly shot down from the ground.

The aircraft was flying at the altitude of 6 000 metres. The status of the Russian pilots is being defined.

According to the preliminary data, the pilots managed to eject from the warplane.

The circumstances of the crash are being defined.

During all the flight time, the aircraft was flying only within the borders of the Syrian territory. That was registered by objective monitoring data.

The Russian version leaves it open who shot the plane down. Is that meant to deescalate?

Turkey claims that the red line here shows the flightpath of the Russian plane.


If that is correct than the (alleged) violation of Turkey's airspace was for just some 5 seconds and would in no way justify to shot down the plane. Just Friday Turkey "warned" Russia over attacks on "Turkmen" in Syria. This then was not legitimate air-defense but an ambush. Most NATO country will shake their heads over the irresponsible Turkish behavior and will not get further involved such lunacy.

So there will likely be no war over this but a lot of strong statements will be issued. NATO councils and the UN Security Council may meet. But the propaganda preparation for war is targeted at the Islamic State and Syria, not at Russia.

In a separate incident two Russian journalists covering the Syrian army were wounded by a projectile from the "rebels".

The Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov canceled his visit to Turkey which was planned for tomorrow. After having lost many "western" tourists Turkey will now also lose the last Russian guests. There are many hotels in Antalya that will have to close down. Turkey's energy supplies depend on Russian (and Iranian) gas. The shooting down of the plane may lead to "technical problems" with those supplies. The PKK fighting the state in Turkey's east may soon have a new sponsor and modern weapon supplies.

The area where the plane came down is in Latakia, some 3.5 kilometers from the Turkish border. It is in the hand of what Turkey calls "Turkmen" which may mean imported Uighur and Uzbek Islamist fighters - mujahideen like they call themselves in the video. They are now already under sharply increased artillery fire. They may soon have to endure some very violent direct attacks by Russian special forces. Future Russian air-to-ground attacks in the area will be flown with "top cover" from additional fighter jets ready to engage the Turks with the very best Russian weapons as soon as they make the tiniest mistake.

In short. This Turkish escalation step will be answered.

UPDATE: Putin just held a press conference with the Jordan King Abdullah on his side(!) and boy was he pissed. Some major points:

  • Confirms Turkish version of air-to-air missile but says plane was in Syrian airspace
  • Describes Turkish attack as "a stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists"
  • "Together with our US partners we signed an agreement to prevent" incidents like this
  • "Ankara will discuss this tragedy with NATO as if it was Russia who shot down their jet. Does Turkey want NATO to serve ISIS goals?"
  • Accuses Turkey of financing, protecting ISIS
  • Turkey doing oil business with ISIS
  • This will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations


Posted by b on November 24, 2015 at 11:37 UTC | Permalink

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Deepest condolences to the close ones of the murdered pilots.

That was a clear provocation by a higher order, Erdogan the butcher of Syria is just a simple tool (in his youth was just a street hooligan).

The global genocidal transatlantic anglo-zio cabal is getting desperate (hence so much pathetic trolling also here), it has just been hit with a media leak of data on the 2 millions of its freemasonic members.

What now? Enter the Dragon... It's about time.

Posted by: ProPeace | Nov 24 2015 22:59 utc | 201

@196 and Russia won't give fcuk about any Turkish fighter that it will down from now on if it tries to engage fighters bombing the turkmen as the SAA retake the border lol

Posted by: bbbb | Nov 24 2015 23:00 utc | 202


There are some relevant comments in the Open Thread that would interest readers of this one.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 24 2015 23:14 utc | 203

Posted by: Cortez | Nov 24, 2015 5:49:29 PM | 198

Turkey has been trying to extend their borders into Syria.

The consequence of all this now will be
- Vienna - as in agreeing on proxies in Syria that shall not be bombed - is dead
- YPG now have a no fly zone
- Turkish economy including its ISIS oil business will take a serious hit

Posted by: somebody | Nov 24 2015 23:23 utc | 204

Assad Erdogan has to go.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Nov 24 2015 23:30 utc | 205

I'm simply saying that it'd be prudent to respect the border of a vitriolic country when one is waging warfare against the interests of that country.

It's like choosing to screw with the most drunk and unstable person in a bar.

?Posted by: IhaveLittleToAdd | Nov 24, 2015 4:27:56 PM | 179

And then whining afterward about how you are a victim of rape, after you find out that the drunk unstable person you screwed also gave you a sexually transmitted disease.

Posted by: Sukhoi | Nov 24 2015 23:47 utc | 206

@205 we dont need your life story, bub. Fuck off.

Posted by: Guest77 | Nov 25 2015 0:00 utc | 207

Counterpunch has a new column up from Mike Whitney, who says the shoot-down was Erdogan's desperate attempt to reverse Obama's tacit acceptance of the failure of the plan to cut Syria into pieces. I'd like to believe that, and it fits with Obama's profile of standing aside while the neo-cons play their deadly games, but stoutly resisting the commitment of significant personnel. All of which supports what common sense also suggest: Turkish military knew the fighter was Russia's.

Posted by: Laker | Nov 25 2015 0:02 utc | 208

Counterpunch has a new column up from Mike Whitney, who says the shoot-down was Erdogan's desperate attempt to reverse Obama's tacit acceptance of the failure of the plan to cut Syria into pieces. I'd like to believe that, and it fits with Obama's profile of standing aside while the neo-cons play their deadly games, but stoutly resisting the commitment of significant personnel. All of which supports what common sense also suggest: Turkish military knew the fighter was Russia's.

Posted by: Laker | Nov 25 2015 0:02 utc | 209

Whoops, sorry, i didnt realise she was your mother

Posted by: Sukhoi | Nov 25 2015 0:17 utc | 210


Posted by: Sukhoi | Nov 25 2015 0:17 utc | 211

Erdogan has to go. Posted by: Sun Tzu | Nov 24, 2015 6:30:43 PM | 204

I stongly suspect there are moves behind the scenes to do just that.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 25 2015 0:42 utc | 212

First of all, we should all be honored by having His Excelency, President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (or his official troll, RTE) posting on our humble web site.

That said, there are different versions of the recent events than those claimed by RTE. For example, the government of the Russian Federation posted their map of the event, and it is far superior in the sense that the flight route is a solid line rather than dotted and it has all kinds of useful explanation (at least to those of us who understand Russian). One can find it on you tube. But as I was checking for a link, I got a newer version, according to Reuters, from U.S.A. The link I got was to Reuters twitter:

Reuters Top News ‏@Reuters 16m16 minutes ago
BREAKING: U.S. believes Russian jet exploded in Syrian airspace: official
408 retweets 101 likes

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 25 2015 1:13 utc | 213

@ cortez @198

Turkey has a Border with Russia too. And a long Border with Iran. The world is getting sick of Turkey and its terrorist farms.

Posted by: psakiwacky | Nov 25 2015 1:19 utc | 214


Russia placed their bet one time too much and lost. There's nothing more to add here.

Good enough. Time for you to shut up and leave, make use of your time going to remedial school, instead of posting drivel. Don't worry about the door, we will lock it up.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 25 2015 1:30 utc | 215

@203 somebody 'YPG now have a no fly zone ...'

Agree with all three points but with that one especially. I was wondering how Putin/Russia was going to accomplish that but they are patient, and Erdogan gave him/them the opening. 11.24.2015 21:03:54 Moscow. November 24th. INTERFAX

Russian General Staff is currently, in view of the Turkish attack on the Russian Su-24, working out additional measures to ensure the security of the Russian air base in Syria, said Sergei Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces:

First, all actions of strike aircraft will be carried out only under cover of fighter planes.

Second, measures will be taken to strengthen the defense. To this end, the cruiser Moskva, equipped with the air defense system "Fort," similar to the C-300, will take up position in the coastal region of Latakia.

We caution that any targets, representing a potential danger for us, will be destroyed.

I wonder along with you if the 'Crimean Tatars' who pulled the plug on the Crimea and the 'Turkmens' aren't all actually Al-CIAduh ... and if the whole act is not an ensemble? Putin/the Russians said there were a thousand Russian - Caucasian, presumably - terrorists at work in the area where the jet and its pilots came down.

I think that, on the model of 'living well is the best revenge', Russia's continuing what she's begun against Da'esh and its supporters is what Russia will continue to do.

As far as RTE/Sukhoi/Cortez go ... I also think that not devoting anymore column inches to 'their' trash in reply is the the best m.o. He's less prolific when left unattended, and he's just a temporary inconvenience in any case. The sweeper will eventually come through and clean up the thread for the archive.

Thanks b for your great posts ... and for keeping the house clean, too. Such a nuisance it must be, but the trash is a measure of your effectiveness.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 25 2015 1:35 utc | 216

b, any chance that you might post IP address logs of the trolls?

Posted by: Jonathan | Nov 25 2015 1:58 utc | 217

"I stRongly suspect there are moves behind the scenes to do just that." Posted by: Lisa | Nov 24, 2015 7:42:09 PM | 211

Me 3, but who makes the moves and what are the moves? I think that when Erdogan cancelled the Chinese made air defense he threw his lot with NATO and his overtures to the Eurasian silk road architects overboard. At that moment he planned to try and bring Obama to his camp and resurrect the wet dream of a no-fly zone. With his provocation of the Bear he tried to stop Russia and France cooperation against the ISIL lucrative oil trade business. But some NATO members are giving him the cold shoulder and even the US can not confirm that the SU-24 penetrated Turkish air space. Turkey is now in full retreat saying they didn't know it was a RuAF jet. The Turkish opposition leader already questioned the downing of the Russian jet. Turkey stands to loose lucrative Russian tourism and trade. The Turkey Lyra plummeted. Me thinks Erdogan has been left out in the cold like in SAddam's invasion of Kuwait. What do you think?

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Nov 25 2015 2:28 utc | 218

Turks support ISIS, which makes NATO an ISIS supporter

Posted by: John | Nov 25 2015 3:16 utc | 219

Sun Tsu @ 218: even the US can not confirm that the SU-24 penetrated Turkish air space.

This is actually interesting. US definitely has capabilities of confirming everything, like who controlled the spot of dirt from which a missile was fired that downed Maleysian airplane. Sure, it was not an artistic jobs (no pictures were produced), but it was done. Next, the official version that I have read was that they need to analyze the radar data. As we all know, the purpose of having military radar systems is that you can establish the positions of the aircrafts in the surrounding area after few days of analysis (eh? is this really the American military doctrine and technology?!?!) Well, perhaps radar systems have immediate accuracy with a mile or two which is sufficient for the defense (really?) but only fine analysis yields more accurate results. But then the analysis can be tweaked.

So my hypothetical conclusion is that US had the capability of confirming that the Russian jet crossed Turkish border, but no political capability or will. I guess that Erdogan boldly overplayed his hand. "Croesus, by crossing Halys river, will undo a mighty kingdom."

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 25 2015 3:19 utc | 220

@209 She raped you, that's right. She's still pissed - here you had a big smile on your face and begged for the 12" strap on and everything... and then you go and cry rape. Some people.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 25 2015 3:36 utc | 221

Anyway, dick. You're new here. So who's paying you to go around defending this disgusting attack on two brave men fighting terrorism?

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 25 2015 3:38 utc | 222

Still crazy after all these years:

The Opinion Pages | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

John Bolton: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State
By JOHN R. BOLTON NOV. 24, 2015

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 25 2015 3:50 utc | 223

The plane was brought down after, not during, the alleged violation of Turkish airspace. That makes the shooting an act of retribution, not defense. After-the-fact retribution is not in accordance with accepted non-belligerent rules of engagement for defending national airspace. It takes the lid off a huge can of worms.

If Russia were "testing" Turks over their airspace, a ground attack aircraft would not be the one to do it with. Ground attack aircraft do not threaten control of airspace. No pilot in his right mind would contest airspace against air superiority fighters with a a ground attack fighter. After this incident, it is more likely that Russia will use air superiority fighters to provide security for their ground attack craft.

I think what this is all about is Turkey seeing the prospect of "safe zones" for their Al Qaeda/ISIS clients in the border regions glimmering with the onset of the Russian air campaign. Turkey could face down Syria but not Russia. They're looking for some way to induce Russian aircraft to avoid the border regions. They can't according to international law, so they appear to be looking to leverage their position with NATO. Unless NATO gets involved (breaching international law), the countermoves on the Russian side are simple. They have a very competent, up to date fighter force and a formidable area denial air defense system that Turkey lacks. Turkey's move could expose some real fault lines within NATO, with western Europe up in arms about Turkey's role supporting Al Qaeda/ISIS and France roughly aligned with Russia. Attempting to leverage a multilateral alliance for one power's local objective is risky for the alliance under the best of circumstances, which these are definitely not.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Nov 25 2015 3:55 utc | 224

Piotr Berman @ 221 It is very interesting that Erdogan is changing the narrative from air space violation to we have kinsman in the area that are being bombed. What is it Mr. Erdogan, Turkish air space violation or kinsman being bombed in Syria? Make up your mind!

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Nov 25 2015 4:05 utc | 225

Why is RTE being a bully to Mina? Can you please be a gentleman and stop being a jerk, you've made your point already.

Posted by: Fernando | Nov 25 2015 4:21 utc | 226

"apparently Russia has just found its peer in not giving a damn about international law or humanity. "

Funny, these attacks on Russia along this line never end. Yet it wasn't Russia who carried out a coup in the Ukraine by mowing down police and civillians, and then declared 10% of their civillian population "terrorists" and launched an all out military assault on two large cities. It isn't a Russian diplomat who gleefully giggled over that rape and murder of the leader of Libya, nor was it Russia who declared on national telvision that the deaths of half-a-million innocent Iraqi children was "worth it". It wasn't the Russians who created, on several occasions, armies of religious fanatics as a political and military tool. It wasn't the Russians that invented a hoax about WMDs so that they could occupy the oil fields of the Middle East.

And this just covers recent history.

The Russian's are no angels - who is? - but this garbage that they don't care about humanity is BS of the highest order.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 25 2015 4:29 utc | 227

As an American I have to live with the blood our false piety continues to spill, and it is weighing on me. Between the Ukrainian fiasco and the Syrian miscalculation, the new boss seems much like the old one. I extend my deepest condolences to the pilots and family of those lost in this debacle. I also would like to point out that one major flaw we have as a country is our reliance upon black and white and Hollywood like characters of debauchery and purity. The real world is not so easily categorized and we struggle with that. My radical idea is that we spend less time warring, and more time learning. It seems that post WWII, our power outweighed our maturity.

Posted by: MrBenny | Nov 25 2015 4:44 utc | 228

I wouldn't want to be a Turkman/al Nusra fighter in Northern Syria this week or next. That is where the hammer will fall. It's pretty difficult to shoot down cruise missiles.

Posted by: chuckvw | Nov 25 2015 5:47 utc | 229

How it played out seems to be that Turkey was hung out to dry by Obama/NATO, and told to stand down while Russia extracts its pound of Turkmen flesh. This is about done.

Posted by: MrBenny | Nov 25 2015 5:58 utc | 230

Is Erdogan is backing down already after NATO didn't back him up? Have the Turkish Air Force planes in that area been grounded?

Posted by: Nomo | Nov 25 2015 6:02 utc | 231


This is not a military radar. Radars don't generally produce a topo map with hand-painted red line. Russia has shown an alleged radar trace on the same press conference and it looked pretty much like the Turkish one. Specifically, it shown none of the rather unusual "oh I must avoid this little piece of Turkish territory" maneuvers as seen on the hand-drawn map. I'm pretty sure were doing this shortcut on regular basis, with the typical "we're from Russia and we don't give a f..." approach. And Kremlin perfectly knew that and their rather soft reaction - flying fighter jets along with bombers in future only confirms that. And, most importantly, I'm pretty sure Russian jets won't be making this convenient shortcut through Turkish territory any more.

Posted by: Cortez | Nov 25 2015 6:38 utc | 232

@233 cortez.. you are a bigger idiot then you realize..

Posted by: james | Nov 25 2015 6:58 utc | 233

Re: Posted by: Tom Welsh | Nov 24, 2015 10:42:46 AM | 63

Not really that hard - look at a map - Turkey's coastline is entirely on the North Atlantic.

Posted by: Julian | Nov 25 2015 7:53 utc | 234

Erdo's little move here might make him feel happy inside as he used a cheap tactic to down a Russian jet - but the consequences are all that matter at this point, and I'm sure the Erdogan regime will pay dearly

Posted by: bbbb | Nov 25 2015 8:25 utc | 235

The planes were attacked from the sky and the rescue helicopter team was attacked on the ground. Both versions had a true base
One pilot rescued.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 25 2015 8:28 utc | 236

People who care about humanity perform quality control on their leaders before bad things happen, rather than submissively following and defending their leaders to the end of their designated terms. If Erdogan wants to be a neo-Ottoman emperor, he and the rest of his corrupt family can do so in chains as Assad's footrests.

Posted by: Jonathan | Nov 25 2015 8:35 utc | 237

Here we have Turkish President Gul saying breaches of airspace like this are "routine", and William Hague calling for UNSC action when Syria downed a Turkish jet in 2012.

Posted by: Bob | Nov 25 2015 8:42 utc | 238

RTE and TV3 are the same person. It is a sock-puppeting troll. RTE and TV3 are the two main TV channels in Ireland. And you can see the comments are very similar. Probably didn't think anyone else would make the connection.

Posted by: Alieu | Nov 25 2015 9:13 utc | 239

You can add Sukhoi to his list of sock puppets, and possibly Cortez as well. Would be great if rules were introduced banning the same IP from posting under multiple accounts.

Posted by: Alieu | Nov 25 2015 9:19 utc | 240

Anyway, Turkey has been told "shoo"

The sock puppets will soon lose interest.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 25 2015 9:23 utc | 241

Add Siemens to the list. Maybe he's using the new sockpuppet software the US military bought?

Posted by: Alieu | Nov 25 2015 9:24 utc | 242

From RT's live coverage

08:51 GMT
Erdogan says the Turkish Air Force didn’t know the plane was Russian when it attacked.


But seeing Erdogan gradually changing his tune, after some of his biggest NATO partners essentially told Turkey to cool it, is an interesting development. Meanwhile the russians are increasing their security in and around northern Syria, deploying S-400s and escorting their bombers with fighter jets from hereon in.

Messing the relations, by shooting down the Su-24 and seeing one of the pilots killed by your people on the ground, with one of Turkey's biggest economic partners, which also happens to be a nuclear power, without getting any tangible concessions from either Russia or NATO, can only be described as a strategic blunder.

I'm thinking that it won't be long before Putin will receive that one important phone call (and a personal visit at a later date).

Posted by: never mind | Nov 25 2015 9:56 utc | 243

Posted by: Alieu | Nov 25, 2015 4:24:49 AM | 244

yeah riiiiight

lulz, Mr "Alieu" - name never heard from before and very knowledgeable about the site - not at all a sockpuppet, absolutely not

If b published the IP logs of this website it would just expose the amount regular commenters (the ones that actally do all the complaining about sockpuppets) posting using sockpuppets.

Take Mr "alieu", or any of the host of other socky-tards one could mention, who sign under sockpuppet names to post abuse. The number of regular commenter using sockpuppets to post abuse is likely to be of a magnitude far far greater than those whom the likes of Mr "Aleiu" , or any of the host of other socky-tards that operate here, spew their rancid abuse at.

Posted by: Socky | Nov 25 2015 12:52 utc | 244

Last night Russia's general staff gave a briefing that boils down to the following points.

1. According to THEIR map (see for example the embedded video in, there was no violation of the Turkish border. In fact, it was the Turks who crossed over to shoot down the Su-24.

2. Regardless, they are undertaking three measures:

a) Fighter escort for all bomber flights.
b) Missile cruiser with S-300 SAMs (naval version) positioned off Latakia.
c) "Any threats to our aircraft will be destroyed."
d) Military communications with the Turks will cease effective immediately.

So we'll see. You can imagine what the Russian public opinion is feeling on this, so part of the challenge for the Kremlin is to manage that and not let this turn into a larger problem. Coincidentally, the aircraft's pilot (who was killed by ground fire while parachuting) was just made Hero of Russia (equivalent to the Congressional Medal of Honor), posthumously.

Another twist is that they've just recovered the second pilot (the aircraft's navigator/sysop). "Alive, well," per the general staff statement. So at the very least there ought to be a "live" press conference or statement at some point...

Posted by: Angry Panda | Nov 25 2015 13:44 utc | 245

That is clearly Turkey's trick to avoid been forced into bombing Isis. Erdogan refuses to antagonize Isis for fear of retaliation. By bombing a Russian plane, he is sending a friendly message to Isis. Russia will now arm the YPG and push them to attack not only Isis but the turkmens that Erdogan is using as a pretext to intervention in Syria. In addition any Turkish plane attacking the YPG will be systematically destroyed. Erdogan is now trapped in his own spider net. The YPG will soon join the
Syrian army in the offensive in Raqqa. The turkemsns will flee to Turkey.

Posted by: virgile | Nov 25 2015 15:07 utc | 246

Same tricky border/sore thumb as 2013 shoot-down of Syrian helicopter, pilot captured by rebels and beheaded. - naturally their favorite spot to ambush enemy aircraft at the slightest chance - it gives the most chances.

Posted by: Caustic Logic | Nov 25 2015 16:01 utc | 247


Just how fragile does ones ego have to be to cause one to post the sort of hysterically childish comments LoneWolf has been posting all day on this and similar threads?

"Very fragile indeed" seems to be the likely answer

Posted by: Siemens | Nov 24, 2015 8:49:52 PM | 216

I see I'm not the only one has Lone Wolf Mr Butthurt pegged for a pathetic troll.

As for the fragility of his ego? Well that's been clear for quite some time now.

Posted by: HolyC | Nov 25 2015 17:19 utc | 248

NATO is cracking and will not fight over Turkey.

Posted by: MrBenny | Nov 25 2015 18:00 utc | 249

38;His spies must of told him he was next on the Israeli Expansion Program,from the Nile to the Euphrates,remember?
Does the West and Russia hate Islam?I'm not a Russian,have no idea of their attitude to the religion,but Islams tenets sure seem like they would appeal to macho chauvanists?,which America is filled with.
This is actually a nationalist struggle,as non of the actors seem particularly religious in any shape or form.It's put in religious terms by the narrators,Zion,as it helps their Program.

Posted by: dahoit | Nov 25 2015 19:18 utc | 250

NATO monitoring of southern European airspace, including Turkey, is located in Madrid, Spain (a few thousand kilometers away).

In short, both the Turks and the Russians could be the victims of ·"dirty tricks" orchestrated elsewhere. However, Erdogan running immediately to NATO makes it look like he is part of the tricks.

Posted by: hyperbola | Nov 26 2015 15:55 utc | 251

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