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Video has emerged on social meda sites which shows a crashed aircraft which opposition fighters in northern Idlib province claim they shot down with heavy machinegun fire as it was taking off from the Abu Thuhur airbase.

It is not possible to verify the rebel statements as foreign media access to Syria is restricted. This was the second fighter aircraft the rebels say they have shot down, the last one being in eastern Deir al-Zor province.

State news channels said the aircraft that came down in Deir al-Zor crashed because of technical problems.

Video posted by the Syria Martyrs Brigade showed fighters posing near burning pieces of a camouflage-painted aircraft and examining the bloodied corpse of what appeared to be the pilot, tangled in a parachute.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is struggling to put down a 17-month-old uprising against his rule, has been relying increasingly on aircraft to attack the rebels, who are comparatively lightly armed with machineguns and rockets.

The rebels stepped up their attacks on airbases last week.

Rebels say they have ‘liberated’ many parts of northern Syria, but their victories mean little as long as fighter jets and helicopters can bomb and strafe opposition-held areas. The government is increasingly using air power near the capital Damascus.

The Telegraph

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