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Russian plane shot down in Syria

Posted at 9:41 AM, Feb 03, 2018

A Russian warplane was shot down Saturday in Syria, according to a Russian state-run news agency.

The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed one of its Su-25 warplanes was downed in Syria's Idlib province, state media outlet RIA Novosti reported. The ministry said the pilot was able to eject from the plane but died.

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

Militants shot down the plane in an area controlled by al Nusra Front rebels, according to the RIA Novosti report. Russia and Turkey, which is responsible for the de-escalation zone in Idlib, were taking measures to return the pilot's body, the defense ministry said.

Russian state-run news agency TASS reported that "according to preliminary information, the plane was shot down from a portable anti-aircraft missile system."

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. It was unclear whether the pilot was alive or dead, he said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime recently resumed airstrikes on rebel-held areas such as Idlib province in the country's northwest, prompting tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes, according to UN officials.

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