Syrian rebels claim to have shot down government warplane

epa06910243 A warplane strikes on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights at the village of Arab Asudi in the southeastern Quneitra province, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, 25 July 2018. The southern Quneitra province in Syria, backed up against the Golan Heights, has been the scene of increased fighting in recent days between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad's regime and Islamist armed opposition groups. EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI

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A Syrian government warplane is reported to have been shot down as fighting continues in the rebel-held northern province of Idlib.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said the pilot of the Russian-made Sukhoi warplane had been captured and was being held by the jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the dominant faction in Idlib Province.  The Sukhoi 22 jet had taken off from a Syrian air base in Homs province.

HTS said the plane was shot down over al-Tamanaa, just to the east of Khan Sheikhoun. It confirmed that it was holding the pilot but gave no further information.

Earlier reports said Russian-backed government forces had advanced to just a few kilometres from the town.

Nearly 30 combatants are said to have been killed in overnight fighting.

Via BBC/ Al Jazeera/ Jerusalem Post

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