A Russian fighter jet was shot down in Syria yesterday over Idlib province, the northwest region of the state, according to Russian state media. The jet was shot down in an area controlled by al-Nusra fighters. Nusra fighters are aligned with the Free Syrian Army and are trying to liberate Syria from the President Bashar Assad’s regime.
The plane was shot down using portable anti-aircraft missiles according to Russian state television. Both Russian state TV as well as witnesses on the ground say the pilot was able to parachute out of the aircraft after it was hit, although accounts differ on what happened next. Some witnesses say the pilot was killed after a gun battle with rebels, other say he was taken from the crash site. It is unclear whether the pilot is alive or dead.
According to witnesses two Russian jets were striking the area when one of them was shot down. Bashar Assad’s army, with the help of Russian forces, have launched an offensive to retake the province of Idlib. It is the only province that has come under full rebel control in the Syrian Civil War that started in 2011.