A Russian Su-25 warplane was shot down over Syria’s Idlib province in northwestern Syria on Saturday. The pilot safely ejected from his plane, but he was killed by militants on the ground. This report, corroborated by the Russian Defense Ministry and RIA Novosti specifies events this way (translated and edited from Russian):
Over the area controlled by the terrorist group Jebhat an Nusra in the province of Idlib, the launch of a MANPADS missile against a Russian Su-25 was carried out. In response to this incident, a strike accomplished with precision weapons against a group of more than 30 rebels affiliated with the group Djebhat Al-Nusra.
On Saturday evening, militants with the help of MANPADS shot down the Russian Air Force attack aircraft. The pilot of the plane managed to eject, but died in battle with terrorists.
The Russian Center for Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria, together with representatives of Turkey responsible for the de-escalation zone of Idlib, is taking measures to return the body of the Russian pilot.
Kurdish self-defense forces Afrina (KSS) expressed condolences in connection with the death of the pilot. ‘I think everyone understands who supports those terrorist groups.The groups in Idlib are besieged and can be supported only from Turkey,’ KSS spokesman Reisan Hedu said.
According to him, the death of the pilot ‘in the hands of the same terrorists’ who are guilty of the death of Kurdish soldiers. ‘We lit candles in memory of the Russian pilot, just as we light candles in memory of the dead Kurds,’ he added.
At the same time, according to the deputy chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee Yury Shvytkin, the incident with the shot down Su-25 ’causes an unconditional need for an investigation.’ He explained that until today there was no case when the terrorists used MANPADS.
Shvytkin suggested that the anti-aircraft missile system terrorists received from representatives of the West.
The Al-Nusra Front is known to be operating in this region, under the alias of the Free Syrian Army. The technologically advanced use of MANPADS raises questions about the USA’s history of supplying weapons to Al-Nusra, treating them as a “nice” Al-Qaeda group worthy of at least covert support.
The Russians did not sit by without a response. In quick response a precision strike took place, believed to have killed some 30 terrorists, those believed responsible for the downing of the Su-25 and the killing of its pilot.
The story on this incident is still developing, but it could represent a significant escalation towards greater confrontation between US-supported forces and Russian forces in the region.
It is a very complicated situation with many groups fighting Syria’s legitimate government under Bashir al-Assad, the Kurds, the Turkish, ISIS, each other… the lines go in so many directions it is hard to track, and for this, a lot of blame rests with the United States for trying to use enemy forces as allies for the sake of expedience.
We will follow this story closely to see if the same sort of thing has happened here.