Russian Su-25 jet downed in Syria, pilot killed - Defense Ministry

Larry Hoffman
February 4, 2018

It's after a Russian military pilot was reportedly killed after his fighter jet was shot down.

Rebel fighters in Syria have shot down a Russian plane using a handheld anti-aircraft missile and killed its pilot when he open fire on them while trying to resist capture.

"A series of high-precision weapons strikes has been delivered on the area controlled by the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, from which a MANPADS missile was launched at the Russian Su-25 jet", the ministry said adding that "according to radio intercepts, more than 30 Jabhat al-Nusra militants were killed". The attack took place when the jet was flying over the Idlib de-escalation zone on Saturday. The pilot reported that he had ejected by parachute, and he was later killed on the ground.

"The pilot was killed in fighting against terrorists".

The Syrian opposition released footage on social media that purported to show the wreckage of the plane and the body of the pilot surrounded by fighters.

The scenario where a US-backed, US-supplied jihadist group in Syria uses USA weapons to shoot down a Russian plane and then murders the pilot on the ground should be seen as a near-nightmare escalation, drawing the United States and Russia terrifyingly closer to direct conflict.

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.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported more than 35 airstrikes on Saraqeb in the north which killed five civilians.

Russian Federation is a key ally of President Bashar Assad, and has been waging a military campaign on behalf of his forces since 2015.

Since then, Syrian government forces have captured wide parts of the country and in recent weeks have been marching in the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib. Two months later, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane.

It is not yet known which group shot the plane down.

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