Syrian rebels shoot down MiG

August 14th, 2012 - 5:34 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Aug 14 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Syrian rebels have claimed they had shot down a government MiG-23 fighter jet in the east of the country.

Rebels from the Free Syrian Army operating near Deir az Zour city posted a video on YouTube showing a plane being hit with what appears to be an anti-aircraft machine gun. The plane is seen catching fire and crashing.

Official Syrian media reported that the jet had crashed due to “a technical malfunction”, and that the pilot ejected safely and was being searched for.

A military source said “a technical failure occurred while the aircraft was on a training flight”, causing the control devices to “break down” and the pilot to eject, the Sana news agency reported.

According to an Israel Radio report and Syrian opposition sources, the Free Syrian Army captured the downed pilot.

The rebels had previously repeatedly claimed to have shot down a government helicopter but provided no evidence.

The Syrian conflict has claimed between 14,000 and 20,000 lives since March 2011, according to estimates by various opposition groups and the UN.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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