Western-backed Syrian rebels said they had shot down a Syrian military jet on Tuesday and captured its pilot in a desert area in southern Syria near the border with Jordan, where the army had recently advanced and seized border posts.
Saad al Haj, spokesman for the Osoud al Sharqiya rebel group leader, told Reuters the rebels had shot down the Russian-built MiG using anti-aircraft guns in the eastern countryside of Sweida province.
Haj, whose group is one of two major rebel groups operating in the area, said the pilot was captured and was being interrogated. He could not say if the pilot had been injured.
The eastern countryside of Sweida province borders Jordan in a front where the Syrian army, alongside Iranian-backed militias, had established control last Thursday over checkpoints and border posts.
Sweida province was not included in a US-Russian brokered ceasefire that took effect in nearby areas of the southwest in July.
Syrian officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Reuters could not independently confirm a plane had been downed.
Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels who get support from a command room in Jordan run by Arab and Western backers of the insurgency say fighting continues in the area to try to regain lost ground.
They blamed recent losses on the sudden retreat by a Jordanian-backed tribal militia known as Jaish al Ashair that had patrolled the border area.
This had allowed the army to quickly overrun the border posts and establish a presence in a border strip abandoned in the early years of the conflict.
Last June Osoud al Sharqiya said a military jet had come down about 50 kms east of Damascus in a rebel-held territory near a frontline with army troops. Videos on social media were released of the remains of the pilot and wreckage said to be that of the warplane.
Clashes rock Syria truce zone as regime air strikes rebel-held areasClashes erupted overnight in a rebel-held enclave outside Damascus, which was also hit by government air strikes despite a truce deal, a monitor said ... Middle East
US official confirms CIA ending support for Syria rebelsThe head of the US military’s special operations confirmed Friday that the Central Intelligence Agency is shutting down its program to support ... Middle East
Clashes intensify in Syria’s Idlib between rebel groupsClashes in Syria’s Idlib province between a powerful militant group and a key rebel faction intensified overnight, spreading to a border ... Middle East
Rival groups clash in Syria’s rebel-packed IdlibClashes have broken out in northwestern Syria between two of the most powerful insurgent groups raising fears of widespread violence in the rebel-held ... Middle East