Rebel fighters shot down a Russian Su-25 warplane over Syria’s north-west Idlib province on Saturday.
Russia’s defence ministry said the pilot was killed on the ground after ejecting by parachute.
“A Russian Su-25 aircraft crashed during a flight over the Idlib de-escalation zone. The pilot had enough time to announce he had ejected into the zone, under the control of al-Nusra Front fighters,” the ministry said, quoted by Russian agencies.
“The pilot was killed in fighting against terrorists.”
Russia and Turkey, which is in charge of the Idlib de-escalation zone, are “taking measures” to return the body of the pilot, it added.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but hardline opposition groups and the jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) are active in Idlib.
Syrian troops launched a fierce offensive on Idlib in late December, with backing by Russian warplanes.
“There have been dozens of Russian air strikes in the area over the past 24 hours. This plane was also carrying out raids there,” said Abdel Rahman from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Opposition factions have shot Syrian regime planes in the past, but downing Russian warplanes is much rarer.
In August 2016, a Russian military helicopter was shot down over Syria and all five people on board were killed.
Moscow began conducting air strikes in Syria in September 2015.
Two months later, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane, leading to the worst crisis in ties between the two countries since the end of the Cold War.
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/03/syria-rebels-shoot-russian-plane/