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The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed one of its Su-25 warplanes was downed in Idlib province in northwest Syria, state media outlet RIA Novosti reported.

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 Russian Su-25 aircraft crashed during a flight over the Idlib de-escalation zone".

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.

Idlib has always been the region where civilians and fighters have gone as they fled rebel-friendly areas under siege by the Syrian regime.

It happened in a rebel-held area near Idlib in the north of the country. A Free Syrian Army fighter in the area told the source that the pilot "engaged with FSA fighters with a pistol but they killed him eventually".


Forces supporting president Bashar al-Assad's regime, backed by Russian Federation, launched an offensive at the end of December to recapture the southeastern province of Idlib, the last enclave completely out of Damascus's control.

The Syrian opposition released footage on social media that purported to show the wreckage of the plane and the body of the pilot surrounded by fighters.

The Ibaa News Agency of the al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee, said Russian and Syrian warplanes and helicopter gunships have been pounding Saraqeb and the village of Tel Mardeekh in Idlib since the early hours of Saturday.

Syrian government forces and their allies launched a push into Idlib six weeks ago, inching closer to a key highway that connects Syria's two largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.

Other witnesses said the pilot was taken from the crash site, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group.

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who attended the meeting, said the United Nations would lead efforts to form the commission. A third rebel source said he was killed.


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