Syrian jet shot down in Aleppo, pilot reportedly captured by Al-Qaeda affiliate
“The plane wasn’t striking any targets, but was carrying out airborne surveillance. It was hit by a surface to air missile to the south of Aleppo, and now we’re looking for the pilot who ejected from the aircraft,” Syrian Army press service head General Samir told RT on the phone.
The pilot of the downed plane has been taken by Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front to one of its bases, according to a rebel source cited by Reuters.
Video has surfaced on social media reportedly showing the moment of the pilot's capture.
An Al-Nusra affiliated channel has published a video on YouTube, allegedly showing the wreckage of the downed plane and its beaten-up pilot.
Photos supposedly showing the pilot have also appeared, the comments suggesting he is alive.
The ceasefire in Syria was introduced on February 27. It doesn’t apply to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Al-Nusra Front and other organizations designated by the UN's Security Council as ‘terrorists’. The cessation of hostilities deal has been struck by the Russian ceasefire center at the Khmeimim Airbase in Latakia province, and the US coordination center in Amman in Jordan.
On March 14, Russia announced that it was withdrawing the majority of its forces from Syria, as the five-month operation neared its goals.
A total of 97 armed groups operating in Syria have agreed to the ceasefire. Both IS and Al-Nusra Front jihadists have been intensifying their military action in Syria recently, especially in Aleppo province. The ceasefire has been violated at least 250 times since it began, the head of the Russian center in Khmeimim, Sergey Kuralenko, said late last month.