I'm going to be very brief today, my friends. It was a Drone.
The Turkish F-4 Phantom apparently shot down over Syria 3 days ago, was in fact a QF-4, an unmanned, remotely controlled model used as a target drone. The reason they cannot find the pilot or the backseater is simply because there never were any humans aboard the aircraft.
Now, let's ask ourselves, what point was there to sending an unmanned target drone conversion of a usually-piloted aircraft into Syrian airspace?
One could argue that perhaps it had been fitted with a reconnaissance package of some sort. But, in a day when the US and its allies regularly deploy swarms of purpose-built recon drones, with abilities far superior to anything that might be retrofitted to a badly-aging F-4 designed back in the 1950's, how would this make any practical sense?
The other possibility that suggests itself to the twisted, cunning and slightly-paranoid mind of your faithful correspondent is this - it was a setup. How would they have managed this? Well, they would have sent the drone in on what looked like an attack profile, and then when the Syrians launched a SAM at it, reversed course as fast as the airframe would allow and headed back out of Syrian airspace, back over the Mediterranean.
Listen to the rhetoric carefully, my friends. The key phrase being repeated is "where the plane was shot down", that's what they keep saying, over and over, in order to fix it in the minds of the media and the public.
But that's not what matters.
What matters is where the drone/plane was at the time the SAM was launched at it.
One must give the powers-that-be full credit for a cleverly-managed media campaign. They're definitely not subtle, and they're not nearly as clever as they seem to think they are, but they do know how to manage public opinion, and they do know how to focus attention on the red herring.
Now they have their casus belli. And we all know what comes next.