Rebels in Syria claim to have brought down a plane. The warplane, a Syrian MiG, was apparently shot down using heat-seeking missiles. Reports indicate the rebels might have killed one of the pilots after he ejected and attempted to land.
Rebels allegedly shot down a Syrian government warplane over western Syria on Saturday. The news was corroborated by the rebels as well as a military source. Though a warplane has indeed crashed, there are conflicting reports about what might have brought it down. While the rebels do possess powerful anti-aircraft guns, reports indicate the plane was shot down using heat-seeking missiles.
The incident came just after the Syrian government had agreed to attend indirect talks with the rebel opposition in Geneva on Monday. The Syrian warplane a Soviet-era MiG was shot down by the rebels in Syria, even as the government and opposition groups traded barbs ahead of fragile peace talks in Geneva on Monday, reported Al Jazeera.
The Syrian military force confirmed that the fighters had indeed brought down a warplane. They added that the plane was targeted while it attempted to land in Hama province.
“The jet was shot down near the Hama military airfield. One pilot had managed to eject, while the second one died. The pilot who ejected was brought to safety in al-Mughayr.”
Incidentally, the general insistence is that the rebel forces did not shoot down the plane. Apparently, the expected official confirmation could be that the plane crashed due to “technical failure.”
After the plane was shot at, one pilot managed to eject in time and parachute his way into the area that’s under the current government’s control, continued the statement.
“After the Syrian Air Force plane was hit, one pilot ejected and landed at the al-Magir village, which is controlled by the Army. The second pilot attempted an emergency landing at the Hama military airfield. The landing failed and the pilot died.”
One of the reports, apparently quoting sources in the Syrian army even suggests that the other pilot, who died, was butchered by the rebels. Some of the officials claim the pilot was shot and killed while he attempted to parachute his way to ground.
Jaish al-Islam, a group with strong affiliations to the rebels operating in the region has claimed responsibility for bringing down the plane in Syria. The group noted they used anti-aircraft weapons to shoot down the plane. However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed the rebels were able to bring down the plane using heat-seeking missiles. As a proof of their capabilities the rebels posted several pictures on Twitter moments after the plane crashed.
These photos appear to show a plane and later a pilot parachuting from it. All of the imagery bears the logo of their organization. These photos haven’t been independently verified and could be part of the propaganda. However, in the past, the ISIS did post a small video on Twitter that claimed to show how they shot down passenger jet. Incidentally, there’s even a video that shows unconfirmed footage of rebels on the ground allegedly firing at the MiG-21. The video hasn’t been corroborated either and there’s no way of knowing if the shells from the anti-aircraft gun even hit the plane. Moreover, the parachute, which allegedly helped the pilot, suspiciously resembles the type used for dropping humanitarian aid.
A MiG is usually operated by two pilots. Terror Monitor, a group that monitors the war activities and atrocities committed by terror organizations in war torn countries, was able to get a few photos that shows rebel fighters shooting anti-aircraft guns. The photos also show a single parachute deployment, which indicates one of the MiG operators might have died in the crash. Conflicting reports blame either fire from the ground or a jet malfunction, reported RT.
The military source called the attack the attack a breach of a “cessation of hostilities” agreement, reported Yahoo. The incident is expected to have a detrimental impact on the already-fragile peace talks.
[Photo by Karam Al-Masri/Getty Images]