Russian pilot killed after jet is downed by Syrian rebels

Syrian rebels shoot down Russian plane, kill pilot on the ground

United Kingdom based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the plane was downed on Saturday afternoon near the rebel-held town of Sreqeb.

It was not clear which rebel group was involved, but the jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is the most active force in the area.

A Syrian militant in the area told The Associated Press that the pilot was shot and killed when he resisted capture by opening fire from his pistol on the militants who tried to seize him alive.

The Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot is a close air support aircraft widely used by Russian forces in Syria to provide air support to Syrian govt and Russian forces against the rebels. One of the armed men shouts: 'He is Russian'.

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.

Russian Federation is a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad, and has been waging a military campaign on behalf of his forces since 2015.

Russian Federation has been providing air support to the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad in his fight against rebel groups and terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.

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On November 19, the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group was flushed out of its last stronghold in Syria's Al-Bukamal.

With the help of Russian forces, the Syrian government has managed to take back much of the country held by rebels.

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

Syrian government troops launched a major offensive around Idlib in late December, backed by Russian jets.

A third rebel source said he was killed. This plane was also carrying out raids there, ' said Abdel Rahman.

The downing of the aircraft is a rare instance of a Russian jet being shot down by rebels.

The SU-34 Fullback was first deployed to Syria in September 2015.

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