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Warplane shot down in north-west Syria, opposition activists say

Warplane shot down in north-west Syria, opposition activists say”

Syrian rebels shot down a Russian Su-25 in Idlib province on Saturday, and then killed the pilot on the ground, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

He could not immediately confirm which faction had shot down the warplane but hardline opposition factions and the jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) are active in the area.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the downing of the Su-25 and said the pilot was killed in fighting with "terrorists".

The jet was a Sukhoi Su-25, a close air support aircraft designed in the 1970s.

Russian Federation is a key ally of President Bashar Assad, and has been waging a military campaign on behalf of his forces since 2015. The pilot was able to report ejection from an area controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra militants.

Russian Federation has acted alongside its Syrian allies targeting rebels in the area. "I don't have the evidence, what I am saying is, that other groups on the ground, NGOs, fighters on the ground, have said that sarin has been used, so we are looking for evidence", Mattis said.

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Syria's state news agency, SANA, said Syrian troops captured the village of Maasaran as well as the Tel Tokan hill, cutting links between Saraqeb and the rebel-stronghold of Maarest al-Numan to the south.

The head of the observatory, Rami Abdurrahman, said the plane could be Russian.

Russian air force losses have been rare since it began its Syria campaign in September 2015.

In 2016, Turkey downed a Russian fighter plane which Ankara claimed had encroached in its airspace, causing the relations between the countries to dip to their worst point since the Cold War.

"The Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides in Syria alongside the Turkish side, responsible for the Idlib de-escalation zone, are taking steps to retrieve the Russian pilot's body", the ministry noted.



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