Syrian rebels shoot down fighter jet near Aleppo

Renewed fighting across the country threaten to upend fragile truce agreement

A general view shows the wreckage of a government warplane after Al-Nusra front (Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate) reportedly shot it down. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images

A general view shows the wreckage of a government warplane after Al-Nusra front (Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate) reportedly shot it down. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images

 

Syrian rebels have shot down a government fighter jet over southern Aleppo province as renewed fighting across swathes of the country threatened to upend a fragile truce.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels from the Nusra Front brought down the Sukhoi-22 yesterday in an area where the al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters have come under heavy bombardment since they captured it this week.

Syria’s military said a plane on a reconnaissance mission had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile. The pilot had bailed out and efforts were under way to rescue him, it said.

Videos showed a ball of flame in the sky falling, with locals cheering “God is great”.

The latest battles came days before peace talks under UN auspices and brokered by Moscow and Washington were set to resume in Geneva, and days after regime air strikes killed at least 30 people in a Damascus suburb, one of the most serious violations of the “cessation of hostilities” agreement brokered in late February.

“The ceasefire is finished, it will return when judgment day arrives,” said one resident of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city where fighting raged through last night. “It’s disgusting, there’s shelling and bombing everywhere.”

Aleppo was the scene of fresh fighting, with the opposition and government forces shelling neighbourhoods under each other’s control. – (Guardian service)