Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Syria had immediately  apologized over shooting down a Turkish fighter jet, Turkey's state news agency Anatolian reported. 

Syria shot down a Turkish Air Force F4 fighter plane carrying two pilots, which crossed into Syrian territory, because the aircraft was unidentified, on Friday, according to a report by the news agency.

Syrian ships were assisting Turkish vessels search for the remains of the plane. Erdogan told the news agency that the pilots were alive, and the two pilots are reportedly currently in Syria.

The plane took off from a military airfield at Malatya in the south-east at 10:30 am (0730 GMT) and lost radar and radio contact with its base when it was over the Mediterranean Sea west of the Syrian coast.

Earlier, Anatolian referred to the plane as being "on duty," but gave no details of the operation it was undertaking at the time of its disappearance.

The report earlier quoted the military high command as stating that search-and-rescue operations were under way.