BREAKING: Russian Fighter Jet 'SHOT DOWN By Rebels In Sarqeb', Pilot Reported DEAD

Istanbul: Syria's former Al-Qaida affiliate claimed responsibility on Saturday for the downing of a Russian warplane in northern Syria, apparently using a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile.

The Russian pilot was killed after he ejected and exchanged gunfire with militants on the ground, the Russian Defense Ministry and a monitoring group said.

A photo supplied by the media arm of al-Qaida’s branch in Syria shows part of a Russian plane that was shot down by ...
A photo supplied by the media arm of al-Qaida’s branch in Syria shows part of a Russian plane that was shot down by rebel fighters over northwest Idlib province in Syria Photo: Ibaa News Agency/AP

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, a powerful rebel alliance that publicly split from al-Qaida last year, said it had used a man-portable anti-aircraft system to shoot down the Su-25 fighter jet as it flew low over the opposition-held town of Saraqeb.

That claim was echoed by Russia's Interfax news agency, quoting the Defense Ministry, as well as the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Members of the Syrian civil defense known as the White Helmets, gathering at a street which was attacked by Russian ...
Members of the Syrian civil defense known as the White Helmets, gathering at a street which was attacked by Russian airstrikes, in Maarat al-Nuaman town, southern Idlib province, Syria. Photo: AP

In the hours after the Russian jet was downed, Moscow also claimed to have killed more than 30 militants in the area, Interfax reported. The agency quoted the defense ministry as saying it used "precision-guided weapons" to carry out the strike, but without giving details.

The incident could raise tensions between Russia and Turkey, which is monitoring a so-called "de-escalation zone" in the northern province of Idlib as part of an agreement made during Syrian peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

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Source : http://smh.com.au/world/syrian-rebels-shoot-down-russian-fighter-jet-kill-pilot-russia-strikes-back-20180203-p4yzd2.html

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