Feb 5, 2018
A Russian Sukhoi-25 ground-attack aircraft has been shot down in a rebel-held area in Syria’s north-western province of Idlib.
The Russian defence ministry said the pilot had ejected into an area believed to be controlled by the jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance.
Although he survived the crash he was killed in a ground fight, Moscow said.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham – formerly linked to al-Qaeda – said it had shot down the plane.
The Syrian government, backed by Russian air power, launched a major offensive in December against rebel groups in Idlib.
The Sukhoi-25, a close-support ground-attack aircraft, was operating over the town of Maasran in Idlib.
There had been dozens of Russian air strikes in the area over the previous 24 hours, monitoring groups said.
Russia’s defence ministry said: “The pilot had enough time to report that he had ejected in an area controlled by the militants”.
“During a battle with terrorists, the pilot was killed.”
Another video on social media showed a bloodied body in a uniform.
Who shot the plane down?
In a statement released on social media, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group claimed it had shot down the plane using a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile.
The group said the plane had been carrying out an air raid over the nearby city of Saraqeb.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has operated in the region for years under a series of different names.