A warplane was shot down on Tuesday by Syrian opposition fighters in an area south of the city of Aleppo where rebels are battling Syrian regime forces backed by allied militias, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.
The monitoring group said a plume of smoke was seen as the plane caught fire before it fell in the Talat al Eis highland where Nusra Front militants have come under heavy bombardment from Syrian and Russian jets after they captured the area this week.
Syrian regime forces said a Syrian warplane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Aleppo Province and that its pilot ejected, the regime-run media reported. A regime source quoted by regime media said the plane was on a reconnaissance mission.
— منتدى الثورة السورية (@syria7ra) April 5, 2016
Amateur footage posted online by activists showed what they claimed to be the plane's pilot being captured.
A monitoring group and a rebel source said the pilot was captured by the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
Opposition fighters said the warplane belongs to the regime's air force.
The conflict in Syria started on March 15, 2011, with anti-regime demonstrations that later descended into a civil war between five main groups - the regime, the opposition, Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, DAESH terror organisation and YPG, which is the Syrian extension of the PKK that is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and EU.
The UN estimates the death toll in Syria since the start of the war to be at least 250,000, however the Syrian Centre for Policy Research released a report on Feb. 10 that puts the death toll at over 470,000.