Al-Qaeda shoots down Syrian Plane

Edited by Nelly T.

A rebel source and monitoring group have both confirmed the survival of one crew member after Al-Qaeda shot down a government war plane over the town of Al-Ei’s in northern Syria on Tuesday.

The rebel source supposed it was possible that Al-Qaeda’s Syria partner “Al-Nusra Front shot down the plane and took the pilot,” before mentioning that the plane had been hit by heavy machinegun fire.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the plane was possibly being piloted by a Syrian air force pilot before it was put down by Al-Nusra Front.
The ceasefire brokered on February 27 by the US and Russia between government forces and non-jihadist rebels did not include the Al-Qaeda affiliate.

On Friday the strategic town of Al-Ei’s in the Aleppo province was engaged in battle by Nusra fighters and allied rebels who attacked government positions. 43 soldiers and 11 Hezbollah militiamen were killed, sources said. By Monday, they had taken full control of the area.

Footage is now circulating on social media allegedly displaying a scene of the plane coming down and a dozen men crowding around a single figure lying in the dirt. The men then proceed to shout “He’s Syrian, he’s Syrian!” while others yell “Get his weapons off him!”

The authenticity of the footage could not be confirmed by the AFP.

A counter-offensive was launched on Wednesday, overnight, by the army and Hezbollah to recapture al-Eis, rebels reported.

Al-Eis was seized by the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front on Monday. Since the partial truce was declared five weeks ago the fighting was said to have escalated in the area.

Despite both sides accusing each other of breaches the halt of hostilities has held and resulted in a significant reduction in violence across much of Syria.