The Syrian rebel group attacked and shot a Russian Sukhoi-25 ground-attack aircraft 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.
After the attack on aircraft, the aircraft had done emergency landing and after the aircraft had landed the pilot engaged in clash with the group. The Russian Defense ministry has confirmed the attack on a Russian aircraft on Saturdays. The ministry stated that the Syrian rebel group attacked and shot down the Russian warcraft and also the pilot was killed though he survived the attack.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham – formerly linked to al-Qaeda – said it had shot down the plane using a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile after 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 also had been dozens of Russian air strikes in the area over the previous 24 hours, monitoring groups said.
The UN says some 100,000 civilians have been displaced by the fighting. There are 2.65 million people in north-western Syria as a whole, the UN says, and 1.16 million of them are internally displaced people (IDPs).
Some air force losses:
Dec 2017: Shelling damages several planes at the Hmeimim airbase, with two Russian servicemen killed
Dec 2016: A Tu-154 carrying 92 people – including army musicians – crashes into the Black Sea after taking off for Syria from Sochi, killing all on board
Aug 2016: All five people on board a helicopter are killed when it is shot down over Idlib
Nov 2015: Turkish warplanes shoot down a Sukhoi-24. One pilot is killed, the other rescued. The incident sparks a severe deterioration of bilateral relations