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09:23 AM, February 5, 2018
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Russian Sukhoi-25 Aircraft Shot Down By MANPAD Missile System In Syria
Russian Sukhoi-25 Aircraft Shot Down By MANPAD Missile System In Syria. Image: EPA

Al Qaeda-linked militants in Syria shot down a Russian Su-25 aircraft using a man-portable anti-aircraft missile system on February 3, killing its pilot.

"A Russian aircraft crashed during a flight over the Idlib de-escalation area," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft was operating over the town of Maasran in Idlib.

"The pilot died in a fight with the terrorists," the statement said.

"The Russian center for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria and the Turkish side overseeing the Idlib de-escalation area are working to bring the Russian pilot's body home," it added.

The pilot had reported earlier that he ejected by parachute in the area, controlled by Nusra Front militants.

The Idlib Media Center, an anti-government activist group, posted images that purportedly show the plane's wreckage.

It could be the first time rebels have shot down a Russian fighter jet since Moscow began its Syria campaign in September 2015, although rebels did bring down a helicopter in 2016.

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