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Syrian opposition fighters 'down regime plane'

Rebels reportedly downed a Syrian regime plane [twitter]

Date of publication: 5 April, 2016

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Syria's opposition fighters, possibly linked to al-Qaeda, have reportedly shot down a regime aircraft in a rural area south of Aleppo city.
A Syrian regime plane crashed on Tuesday afternoon in the southern countryside of the Aleppo region. The jet was the second such incident since the start of the ceasefire in Syria 40 days ago.

The military plane had reportedly carried out raids on nearby Tel Eis and the areas surrounding the town.

Footage has emerged on social media which appears to show a Sukhoi plane crashing to the ground after being hit by a weapon. It's been suggested this was fired by rebels believed to be affiliated with the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's Syrian franchise. 

The pilot, who had apparently parachuted out of the aircraft, appeared to be captured alive, but photos were subsequently shared online, purporting to show him dead.  

The last incident of a regime plane being shot down was on March 12, outside Hama, when Jaysh al-Islam claimed to hit a Russian aircraft.

The Russian Ministry of Defence said that the plane was hit by a MANPAD anti-aircraft missile.

Syrian rebels have long been asking for shoulder-mounted MANPADS as they have been heavily disadvantaged by their lack of air power compared with the regime and Russia's air force, which have been bombarding civilians in Syria while ostensibly targeting the Nusra Front and the Islamic State group.

The US has repeatedly refused to arm rebels with anti-aircraft missiles, for fear that they would be a powerful weapons in the hands of militants with unknown motivations. 




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