A Syrian regime fighter jet has been shot down by rebels in Idlib province, as Russia-backed regime forces closed in on a strategically important town during a push on the last opposition stronghold.
Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the most powerful armed group in the area, said on Wednesday its fighters had shot down a Sukhoi 22 jet that had taken off from a Syrian airbase in Homs province.
The statement by the group, a former al-Qaeda affiliate, did not say how the plane had been shot down.
Muhammad Rashid from Nasir Army, a faction of the National Liberation Front in Idlib, told Anadolu Agency that the fighter jet was targeted by anti-aircraft units over the town of al-Tamanah in southern Idlib.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said heavy machine guns were used.
Syria's state news agency SANA quoted a Syrian military source who confirmed that a government fighter jet was shot down by rebels in Idlib. The source said that the fate of the pilot remained unknown.
In the same context, HTS said that it captured the pilot Mohamed Ahmed Suleiman, who is originally from Deir Ezzor, and who landed with parachute after shooting the warplane.