Syria Army Makes Fresh Gains in Aleppo, Idlib

Syria Army Makes Fresh Gains in Aleppo, Idlib

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said: 'The pilot was killed as he fought Islamist rebels who had shot down his plane and were taking him captive.' The Russian defence ministry confirmed one of its pilots has been killed. The pilot reported that he had ejected by parachute, and he was later killed on the ground.

"We conducted a group strike using precision weapons in the area controlled by the Jabhat al-Nusra [Jabhat Fatah al-Sham] terrorist group in the Idlib province, from where the missile was launched on the [downed] Russian Su-25 airplane".

It happened in a rebel-held area near Idlib in the north of the country.

Video posted on social media appeared to show the plane being hit, while other video showed burning wreckage on the ground, with a red star on a wing.

Tass news agency quoted the ministry as saying Moscow retaliated with a strike from an undisclosed high-precision weapon that killed more than 30 militants in an area of Idlib province where the plane was downed.

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A Russian Su-25 was reportedly shot down in Syria on Saturday, and the pilot may have been killed by Syrian rebels.

The UN says more than 270,000 have been displaced in Idlib because of the government onslaught since December 15.

A total of eight Turkish soldiers and at least 24 allied Syrian opposition fighters have died so far in Ankara's offensive, which started on January 20.

But a witness who spoke to CNN via Skype on condition of anonymity said the jet was shot down by Free Syrian Army fighters with a group called Jaish al-Naser as two jets were "striking the village of Massaran on the southern side of Saraqib".

Turkey shares a 911-kilometre border with Syria.