[Ed. – The Su-25 is old and fat, and for close air support would be flying at a low altitude. It’s no great feat to shoot one down under those conditions, presumably using a shoulder-fired anti-air missile, of a kind the Syrian rebels would have no trouble acquiring from any number of sources. Given the circumstances, it’s actually fair to say it’s interesting that this doesn’t happen more often.]
Syrian rebels shot down a Russian military plane and killed the pilot, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, highlighting the risks of Russia’s military operation even after President Vladimir Putin declared victory at the end of last year.
The Sukhoi Su-25 attack plane was downed by a local rebel faction as it was carrying out airstrikes on the town of Saraqib in northwest Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province, antigovernment activists and the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The warplane was shot using an antiaircraft rocket, the Observatory said.
“The pilot managed to tell the tower he ejected in an area held by Jabhat al-Nusra militants. The pilot died in a fight with the terrorists,” Interfax news agency reported the Russian defense minstry as saying. …
The ministry later said a retaliatory strike with precision-guided weapons killed 30 militants in the area of Idlib province where the plane was downed.