Militants in Syria Down Russian Fighter Jet, Kill Pilot


The Russian Ministry of Defense has released footage of a precision strike targeting terrorists in Idlib, north-west Syria, in retaliation for the earlier downing of an Su-25 jet and the killing of its pilot. "The pilot had enough time to announce he had ejected into the zone, under the control of al-Nusra Front fighters", the the ministry said, quoted by Russian press agencies. "According to preliminary information, the jet was brought down with a portable anti-aircraft missile system", the defense ministry said. Russian Federation and Turkey, which is responsible for a de-escalation zone in Idlib, were taking measures to return the pilot's body, the defense ministry said.

A Russian plane has been downed and the pilot shot dead after ejecting with a parachute in a rebel-held area near Idlib, northern Syria.

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. At least 30 terrorists are believed to have been killed in the operation.

Dramatic video shows the Sukhoi 25 plummeting out of the sky after it was hit in the north-western province of Idlib while carrying out a strike on rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, Russia's ally, reports The Daily Mail. The province is also a base for al-Qaida's branch in Syria and other Islamic groups.

Syrian troops launched a fierce offensive on Idlib in late December, with backing by Russian warplanes.

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Russian air force losses have been rare since it began its Syria campaign in September 2015.

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. The UN said some 100,000 civilians have been displaced.

The Turkish military said two of its soldiers were killed in Syria and a third was killed on the Turkish side of the border in an attack by Syrian Kurdish militiamen.

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