Syrian army jet crashes down in northern Idlib province

Syrian oppositions down war jet in commercial market area in Idlib killing 12 civilians, leaving many injured

Syrian opposition jet debris in a market in Idlib's Ariha

A Syrian army fighter jet crashed down on Monday into a busy commercial market in the rebel-held northwestern town of Ariha in Idlib province near the Turkish border, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a Britain-based NGO which tracks war in Syria through on ground sources, said that at least 20 were killed and dozens injured, mostly civilians, when the jet crashed down into the market.

According to on ground activists, the death toll is around 50 people including civilians. The search for more human casualties under debris continues, activists said on social media.

According to the BBC, "state media blamed that the crash on ‘weather conditions and heavy fog’ but al Nusra rebels, linked to Al Qaeda, said they had shot it down."

According to Al Jazeera, the plane crashed while bombing the opposition groups around Idlib province.

Activists claim on social media that a pilot has been captured by the "Fateh Army."

The Fateh Army - which comprises of Ahrar al Sham, Jund al Aqsa, Sunna Army, Faylaq al Sham, Ajnad al Sahm, Liwaa al Haq, and Nusra Front - launched an offensive on July 31 against regime forces in support of al Zabadani rebels, who are under heavy aerial bombardment from regime war plans. 

Syrian oppositions had captured Idlib province last May, after the most prominent rebel groups joined in one operation room under the name of ”Fateh Army“ alongside with the Al Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front.

The fall of Ariha in late May left the rebels in control of most of Idlib, bringing them closer to the strongholds of the Syrian regime in the coastal provinces of Latakia and Tartus on the Mediterranean coast.

The regime forces have been attempting to beat back the recent rebel gains by launching heavy aerial bombardment onto the region, according to on ground activists.

Rebels have been attacking the town of Qardaha since Saturday, they said on Monday on the official twitter account of the "Fateh Army." Qardaha, which is the homeland of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, is located in northwestern Syria. 

The UN estimates, over 220,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the war that started as an uprising in 2011 and later descended into a complex civil war.

More than 6.7 million people have fled the country while millions of others were displaced internally, leaving the other 12.2 million people in humanitarian aid need, including 5.6 million children.

TRTWorld and agencies