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U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebels Destroy Russian Helicopter with CIA-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missile

An emergency NATO session has been called for later today following Turkey shooting down a Russian SU-24 aircraft earlier today -- reportedly the first incident of a NATO country shooting down a Russian or Soviet plane.

But following that shoot-down as Russian rescue helicopters searched for the pilots of that airplane, at least one of the helicopters was destroyed by U.S.-backed Syrian rebels using a CIA-provided TOW anti-tank missile.

The rebel group posted video of the destruction of the Russian helicopter:

In the video, the serial number of the missile stand can clearly be seen:

vlcsnap-2015-11-24-10h47m34s761As part of the CIA program, Syrian rebel groups receiving U.S. TOW missiles are required to video each use and return each spent container.

The potential repercussions of these two incidents today could be unprecedented.

The first is that the U.S. may get drawn into an armed confrontation with Russia if Turkey should invoke Article 5 of the NATO Treaty. In a speech following the plane shoot-down, Vladimir Putin said that measures will be taken against Turkey for their actions.

The second is that solid evidence of U.S. weapons being used against the Russians operating in Syria could be the pretext for direct confrontation between the U.S. and Russia.

And as I've reported here at PJ Media previously, the TOW missiles provided to "vetted moderate" Syrian rebel groups have repeatedly found their way into the hands of terrorists:

Dec 14: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

March 24: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

June 8: Video Shows ISIS Using U.S. TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Capture of Palmyra

June 27: ISIS Using U.S. TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Latest Syrian Offensive

July 31:Chechen Terrorists In Syria Have Obtained U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles

From the tepid response from the Obama administration in response to this escalation, it doesn't seem the potential implications of the bellicose talk from Turkey about shooting down Russian planes were gamed out.

These are the kinds of events that start world wars.