A Syrian military jet has been shot down by militants in the northern Hama province, the Syrian state broadcaster has confirmed, adding that a pilot was killed in the attack.
“The military aircraft crashed in the vicinity of Hama after it was shot down by terrorists; the pilot was killed,” the Syrian state-run SANA news agency quoted a source as saying. The plane, identified as a L-39 Albatros jet trainer, was shot down by anti-aircraft machine guns belonging to Islamist militants, a source within the Syrian opposition told Al-Masdar News.
It was not immediately clear which militant group was responsible for the attack, but the so-called Free Idlib Army, an offshoot of the Free Syrian Army, claimed responsibility on social media.
A video later emerged purportedly showing the aircraft’s pilot being executed by terrorists from the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate group. The militants allegedly decapitated him in the village of Um Haratain in the north of Hama, the site of fierce fighting between militants and government forces.
Unconfirmed footage from the scene shows a man firing a rocket-propelled weapon into the sky as machine guns fire in the background. A bright flash of an explosion is seen high above, and then smoke rises from a spot of land in the distance.
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