Rebels claim shooting down Syrian military jet and capturing its pilot, army confirms crash

Major Ali al Helweh was captured by the FSA rebels after his plane was shot down
Major Ali al Helwa was captured by the FSA rebels after his plane was shot down

A Syrian rebel group said it shot down a government warplane on Tuesday and captured its pilot alive near a ceasefire zone in the war-ravaged country’s south.

The Ahmad al-Abdo Forces shot down the Syrian government MiG-21 near Wadi Mahmud in the southern province of Sweida, the group’s communications head Fares al-Munjed told AFP.

“The pilot is in our hands. He is injured and being treated,” Munjed said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitor, confirmed the rebel faction had shot down the plane and captured its wounded pilot.

According to Munjed, the area where the aircraft was downed is outside a ceasefire zone negotiated last month by the United States, Russia and Jordan.

Parts of Daraa, Quneitra, and Sweida provinces are included in the agreement, which has brought relative quiet to the zone though some violence has been reported.

Days after the deal went into effect, the Ahmad al-Abdo Forces hit a Syrian government jet but it landed safely in regime-controlled territory.

Munjed said his group had used a “23 millimetre anti-aircraft gun” to down the warplane on Tuesday.

“We will take care to treat the captured pilot in accordance with international law,” he told AFP.

The rebel group’s leadership was still debating what would happen to the pilot after his treatment, he said.

More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

Multiple attempted ceasefires, including nationwide truces, have failed to bring a long-term end to the war.

Army confirms crash

The Syrian military said on Tuesday that one of its jets crashed in southern Syria, state television reported, hours after Western-backed rebels said they had shot it down and captured the pilot.

State-owned Ikhbariya television quoted a Syrian army source as saying an investigation was under way to determine what caused the crash. It did not mention the fate of the pilot.

Rebels released photos of a pilot they identified as Major Ali al Helwa, with bruises on his face, and the wreckage of a jet they said was a Russian-built MiG brought down by anti-aircraft guns.

Saad al Haj, spokesman for the Osoud al Sharqiya rebel group, earlier told Reuters the rebels shot down the jet in the eastern countryside of Sweida province in southern Syria near the border with Jordan.

 

 

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  • Rascal

    The pilot has suffered massive head trauma and will most likely die. This war will not end with Assad in power.
    I hope all this death was worth it to save Iran’s weapon route through Syria to Lebanese Hezbullah for yet more future wars.

    • Omega

      Hope is, sometimes, all one has got left.

      You don’t seem up to date with the reality of the (bogus) war in Syria.

      Has US sacrificed Israel for Syria deal?

      Senior Israeli Cabinet ministers refer to the US-Russia deal on Syria as a strategic failure of the highest level…

      http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/08/israel-iran-us-russia-syria-lebanon-hezbollah-netanyahu.html

      You might also want to update yourself on the advancement of Syria/Hezbollah/Russia/Iran on the land leading to Deir ez-Zor.

    • Omega

      Sometimes, hope is all one’s got left.

      You don’t seem up to date with the reality of the (bogus) war in Syria.

      Has US sacrificed Israel for Syria deal?

      Senior Israeli Cabinet ministers refer to the US-Russia deal on Syria as a strategic failure of the highest level…

      http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/08/israel-iran-us-russia-syria-lebanon-hezbollah-netanyahu.html

      You might also want to update yourself on the advancement of Syria/Hezbollah/Russia/Iran on the land leading to Deir ez-Zor.

      For the record Timber Sycamore is stopped and Pentagon-trained anti-Assad rebels are defecting.

  • Arzna

    This war appears to be just the beginning . The whole region is expected to witness a long period of violence