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Syrian rebels shot down a Russian SU-25 warplane on Saturday, and the pilot was killed after resisting capture by the jihadist rebels.

The Sukhoi Su-25 , a single-seat twin-engine jet aircraft, was providing close air support for troops fighting for the regime of Syrian Presiden Bashar al-Assad in the city of Saraqeb that is located in the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib.

Orient News, an opposition media outlet, claimed that the jet was shot down with an Igla anti-aircraft missile, a shoulder-fired weapon which can be carried by a single man.

“The pilot had enough time to announce he had ejected into the zone, under the control of al-Nusra Front fighters,” the Russian defense ministry said, referring to a jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda. “The pilot was killed in fighting against terrorists.”

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This is the first time rebel troops have succeeded in downing a Russian jet. In August 2016, a Russian military helicopter was shot down over Syria and all five people on board were killed.

TASS news agency quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that Moscow retaliated with a strike from an undisclosed high-precision weapon that killed more than 30 Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in an area of the Idlib province where the plane was downed.


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