Syria militants down Russian plane, capture pilot: monitor

Feb 04, 2018, 01:27
Syria militants down Russian plane, capture pilot: monitor

Other witnesses said the pilot was taken from the crash site, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group.

Tahrir al-Sham, the extremist group linked to Al-Nusra terrorists, has claimed responsibility for the downing of the Russian aircraft, according to Reuters.

In Moscow, the TASS news agency, quoting Russia's defence ministry, said a Russian Su-25 warplane was brought down in Syria and the pilot died after ejecting by parachute.

Jaish al-Nasr, a faction in the Free Syrian Army, released footage of the Su-25 getting shot down, and more video has appeared of the wreckage. One of the armed men shouts: "He is Russian".

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Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have continued occasional use of chemical weapons in smaller amounts since a deadly attack last April that drew a USA missile strike on a Syrian air base, U.S. officials told reporters.

Earlier reports said that Syrian governmental forces were fighting against Jabhat al-Nusra units in the Idlib province.

Russian Federation has acted alongside its Syrian allies targeting rebels in the area.

On November 19, the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group was flushed out of its last stronghold in Syria's Al-Bukamal.

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The opposition's Aleppo Media Center said the plane was a Russian-made SU25 but did not say whether it was Russian.

Syrian soldiers and Iranian-backed militiamen were now around 12 kilometres from Saraqeb, advancing towards the Damascus-Aleppo highway under cover of heavy Russian air strikes, two opposition sources said. "This plane was also carrying out raids there".

The regime has launched an offensive to retake Idlib, the only province that has come under full rebel control in the almost 7-year-old conflict. Two months later, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane.

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who attended the meeting, said the United Nations would lead efforts to form the commission.

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