Published: Sun, February 04, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

Russian pilot killed after jet is downed by Syrian rebels

Russian pilot killed after jet is downed by Syrian rebels

The Russian defence ministry said the pilot had ejected but was killed in a ground fight.

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.

Syrian soldiers and Iranian-backed militiamen were now around twelve kilometres from Saraqeb, advancing towards the Damascus-Aleppo highway under cover of heavy Russian air strikes, two opposition sources said.

Idlib has always been the region where civilians and fighters have gone as they fled rebel-friendly areas under siege by the Syrian regime.

Activists' videos on social media showed rescuers extinguishing fires on the route, used by thousands of villagers fleeing areas south of Aleppo now overrun by the Syrian army and its allies.

The fate of the pilot has not yet been confirmed, nor which group shot his plane down or captured him. The province is also a base for al-Qaeda's branch in Syria and other Islamic groups. The militant refused to be identified by his real name because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Russian Federation has acted alongside its Syrian allies targeting rebels in the area.

The air strike in Telahdiya took place hours after Syrian government warplanes killed three civilians in Arbin city in Eastern Ghouta on Friday afternoon.

Tass news agency quoted the ministry as saying Moscow retaliated with a strike from an undisclosed high-precision weapon that killed more than 30 militants in an area of Idlib province where the plane was downed.

The UN says more than 270,000 have been displaced in Idlib because of the government onslaught since December 15.

In 2015, Russian Federation lost an Su-24 fighter bomber aircraft, after it being shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet following a brief intrusion into Turkey.

Turkey shares a 911-kilometer border with Syria.

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