Terrorists Down Syrian Air Force Jet in Idlib

Sputnik-Middle East
Smoke rises from the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on March 26, 2015 following bombing by rebels. Islamist fighters have seized 17 checkpoints from Syrian forces in clashes around the city of Idlib that have cost at least 71 lives, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Syrian government forces said earlier this month that they were resuming military operations in the provinces of Idlib and Hama, citing the militants’ refusal to observe a ceasefire deal, which had gone into effect on 1 August, by launching several attacks on civilians in nearby areas.

Syria’s state television reported Wednesday, citing a military source, that militants operating in the province of Idlib shot down a Syrian air force plane and the fate of the pilot reportedly remains unknown.

“One of our military aircraft, whose task was to destroy headquarters of the Nusra Front terrorist group in the al-Tamania area, was shot down on 14 August by a missile launched by terrorists from armed groups operating in the region”, the source said, cited by Syria TV television.

In September 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib along the contact line between the armed opposition and the government forces during their talks in the Russian resort city of Sochi.

The withdrawal of heavy weaponry operated by the militants is also part of the agreement.

In early August, the Syrian government agreed to a truce in Idlib on condition that the Sochi agreement was applied.

Last week, the Syrian troops reportedly liberated a town of Hobait in the Idlib province in a strategic move that would allow them to get access to one of the largest cities of the province, Khan Shaykhun.

The northwestern Syrian province is the last militant stronghold. It was overrun by the Nusra Front terror group in 2015 and took in militants evacuated from other regions under a ceasefire deal with the government. According to the United Nations, Idlib had approximately 10,000 members of the Nusra Front and al-Qaeda, which reportedly use local civilians as human shields.