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Russian Pilot Killed By Islamist

Russian Pilot Killed By Islamist
  • PublishedFebruary 4, 2018

A Russian pilot was killed on Saturday in fighting with Islamists after his warplane was downed over northwest Syria, Russia’s defence ministry and a monitor said.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a powerful jihadist-dominated alliance, said it had shot down the plane on an affiliated media channel but made no mention of the pilot.

“We were able to bring down the Russian warplane with a shoulder-fired missile above Saraqib in Idlib this afternoon,” said Mahmoud al-Turkmani, who according to the statement heads HTS’s “air defence brigade.”

He said the attack was in retaliation for a ferocious bombing campaign by Russian warplanes over Idlib.

HTS, which is dominated by Al-Qaeda’s former affiliate, controls Idlib and has sought to fight back a ferocious Russian-backed assault by Syrian government troops.

Firefighters arrived to put out flames that had been spewing dark smoke into the wintry Syrian sky.

The Russian defence ministry confirmed the Su-25 aircraft was shot down over Idlib province and said the pilot was killed “in fighting against terrorists.”

“A Russian Su-25 aircraft crashed during a flight over the Idlib de-escalation zone. The pilot had enough time to announce he had ejected into the zone,” the defence ministry said.

“The pilot was killed in fighting against terrorists,” it said, quoted by Russian agencies.

It added that “according to preliminary reports, the plane was shot down by a portable anti-aircraft missile system.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jet was downed near the town of Saraqib in Idlib and the pilot parachuted to the ground.

He was killed clashing with rebels as they tried to take him hostage, said the Britain-based Observatory.

“There have been dozens of Russian air strikes in the area over the past 24 hours. This plane was also carrying out raids there,” said Abdel Rahman.

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