Russian Attack Jet Shot Down Over Syria By Rebels, Pilot Dead

Lucy Bush
February 4, 2018

A video posted on social media shows the jet being hit in mid-air and the pilot jumping off it.

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that a Russian Su-25 ground attack plane was shot down over Syria by anti-Assad rebels.

"When patrolling the Idlib de-escalation zone, a Russian Su-25 aircraft crashed..."

"The pilot managed to report the ejection in the area controlled by the militants of Jabhat al-Nusra, but later he died fighting the terrorists", a statement by the Russian ministry of defence said. A Free Syrian Army fighter in the area told the source that the pilot "engaged with FSA fighters with a pistol but they killed him eventually".

Turkish presidential spokesperson said Turkey will not tolerate the presence of a Syrian Kurdish militia "anywhere" along its southern border, hinting that Ankara might expand its military operation underway in the Syrian enclave of Afrin eastward. One of the armed men shouts: 'He is Russian'.

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Turkey launched the incursion into Afrin to rout the US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People's Protection Units or YPG, which it considers to be a terrorist organisation and an extension of Kurdish insurgents fighting within Turkey.

Forces supporting president Bashar al-Assad's regime, backed by Russian Federation, launched an offensive at the end of December to recapture the southeastern province of Idlib, the last enclave completely out of Damascus's control. The authenticity of the video could not be independently confirmed but it corresponds to events reported by the AP.

Kalin called on the United States to "disengage" from the YPG and said Turkey will continue communications with "our American allies to avoid any confrontation". The group is spearheaded by the former al-Nusra Front, which used to be al-Qaeda's branch in Syria.

Turkey shares a 911km border with Syria.

The Observatory reported more than 35 airstrikes on Saraqeb since late Friday, adding that many of its residents are fleeing. The White Helmets civil defense group said Saturday that seven civilians had been killed in at least 25 strikes on largely residential areas, some of them using barrel bombs.

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Turkey set up observation points in Idlib past year, ostensibly to monitor the fighting between the rebels and government forces, but it has also been accused of fostering closer ties with HTS.

He was later killed when rebels tried to capture him.

Saraqeb has come under heavy bombardment from Russian and Syrian warplanes in recent days as pro-government forces try to recapture a strategic highway linking Damascus to Aleppo.

The UN says more than 270,000 have been displaced in Idlib because of the government onslaught since December 15.

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