The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that a Russian Su-25 warplane crashed in Syria, claiming that the pilot was killed in fighting on the ground.
The report on the ministry’s Zvezda TV said preliminary information indicates the plane was shot down in Idlib province on Saturday by a portable surface-to-air missile.
The pilot reported that he had ejected by parachute, before the crash, but then was killed in fighting with Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters who control the area.
A Syrian rebel fighter in the area, who refused to be identified by his real name because was not authorized to speak to the media, told The Associated Press that the Russian pilot was shot and killed when he resisted capture by opening fire from his pistol.
The fighters in Jaysh al-Nasr, an FSA faction, published online the footage of what they said moments of downing a Russian Sukhoi Su-25 jet in Idlib’s Saraqib after targeting it with ground machine guns.
The group said the jet was conducting airstrikes on civilian neighborhoods in the area.