Russian jet shot down in Syria, pilot shot dead: Defense ministry

Russian jet shot down in Syria, pilot shot dead: Defense ministry
Sun Feb 4, 2018 09:06:07

Russia has confirmed that its Su-25 fighter jet has been shot down in a militant-held area in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, with its pilot killed in fighting after the incident.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the incident took place when the Sukhoi warplane was flying over the Idlib de-escalation zone.

Preliminary data showed the jet was downed by a man-portable air-defense system (MANPAD), said the ministry.

It said that the pilot had parachuted down into the area controlled by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, but was killed during a confrontation with militants from an unspecified group.

Russian military planes targeted the Nusra-controlled area of Idlib, killing more than 30 militants, the ministry said. The Russian military conducted “a massive precision weapon strike… on areas controlled by the al-Nusra [terrorist] group,” where the Su-25 jet was previously downed by militants, the ministry said.

The statement said the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria together with Turkey, which was also involved in setting up the Idlib de-escalation zone, are now trying to retrieve the body of the Russian pilot.

Reports from the area say the pilot landed alive but was killed when he resisted being captured by militants.

Idlib fell to foreign-backed militants in 2015. The Syrian army, in cooperation with Russia, launched an anti-terror campaign in October 2017 to liberate the province.

(Photo: AFP)

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