Russian Air Force kills over 30 jihadists in area where pilot was killed: MoD
The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the country’s air forces conducted a high-precision group strike of the area controlled by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham militants in Idlib, from where a projectile was fired downing Russian Su-25 aircraft.
“A group strike using precision weapons has been conducted in the area controlled by the Jabhat al-Nusra [Jabhat Fatah al-Sham] terrorist group in Idlib province, from where the missile was launched against the [downed] Russian Su-25 airplane. According to radio intercepts, as a result of the strike, more than 30 militants of Jabhat al-Nusra were destroyed,” the report by the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The strike followed the downing of the Russian Su-25 aircraft in the area.
“The plane was flying over the Idlib de-escalation zone,” the military stated.
Read More | Russian Navy fires Cruise missiles on HTS sites in Idlib countryside after the SU 25 Downed
The Defense Ministry revealed that according to preliminary information as to the possible cause of the downing, the plane may have been shot down by a man-portable air-defense system (MANPAD).
The Russian Defense Ministry stated that the pilot managed to eject from the aircraft and survive, but was killed during a subsequent battle with terrorists.
“The pilot reported on a bailout in an area controlled by rebels Jabhat Fatah al-Sham [previously known as al-Nusra Front]. When conducting a fight with terrorists, the pilot died,” the Defense Ministry said.
According to the ministry, Russia and Turkey, peace guarantor in Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone, are taking all possible efforts to return the body of the killed pilot.
During the two-years long military operation in Syria, Russia lost four aircraft and four helicopters. According to Russian Defense Minister Yury Borisov, the country’s air forces used modernized Su-25SM ground attack aircraft are being used in Syria.
Read More | FSA’s Jaish al-Nasr claims downing of Russian Su-25 jet.
The Su-25 attack aircraft is designed to destroy small-size mobile and fixed ground objects, as well as low-speed air targets.
The conflict took place on the territory controlled by the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham terror group amid the ongoing military operation against them conducted by the Syrian forces.
Among various terror groups operating in the area, there is also Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an umbrella terrorist group spearheaded this year by the former Al-Nusra Front. While some countries such as the United States have flagged HTS as a terrorist group, Russian officials continue to refer to the Salafist jihadist terrorist organization by its old Al-Nusra moniker. Al-Nusra was the official Syrian branch of al-Qaeda until 2016, when it ostensibly split from the world’s most well-known terrorist network.