Russian pilot 'killed in fighting' after plane downed in Syria

UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland

UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland

A Russian Aerospace Force Su-25 fighter jet was shot down by Syrian rebels on Saturday in Idlib Province in northwestern Syria, near the Turkish border.

Russia's Defense Ministry said that the aircraft was downed by a MANPAD portable surface-to-air missile during a flight around the de-escalation zone in the province.

A Russian plane has been downed and the pilot shot dead after ejecting with a parachute in a rebel-held area near Idlib, northern Syria.

Syrian rebels shot down a Russian warplane and killed its pilot on the ground after he ejected from the plane, Russia's defence ministry and Syrian rebels say.

A video circulating on social media shows the lifeless body of a man, his face stained with blood, as bearded gunmen stand around him.

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

"The pilot was killed in fighting against terrorists". The province is also a base for al-Qaida's branch in Syria and other Islamic groups.

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Syrian soldiers and Iranian-backed militiamen were now around 12 kilometres from Saraqeb, advancing towards the Damascus-Aleppo highway under cover of heavy Russian air strikes, two opposition sources said.

'There have been dozens of Russian air strikes in the area over the past 24 hours.

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

But a witness who spoke to CNN via Skype on condition of anonymity said the jet was shot down by Free Syrian Army fighters with a group called Jaish al-Naser as two jets were "striking the village of Massaran on the southern side of Saraqib". The UN said some 100,000 civilians have been displaced.

In a statement quoted by state news agency SANA, a source in Syria's foreign ministry said the talks in Sochi were "the cornerstone of the political process and solid base upon which dialogue will be launched from now on".

The Turkish operation aims to clear Afrin of the USA -backed Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People's Protection Units or YPG, which Turkey considers to be a terrorist group and an extension of the Kurdish insurgency within its borders.

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