Rebels Claim Syrian Warplane Shot Down

Heavy Machine Gun Fire Reported Near Air Base

Activists from several rebel factions are claiming that they were responsible for the downing of a warplane in the Idlib Province earlier today. The plane crashed just outside of the Abiu Zuhour Air Base.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) said that fighters had attacked the base and peppered the warplane with heavy machine gun fire during take-off, fording it to crash-land. They claimed the warplanes were being used against civilians.

The Syrian regime hasn’t commented on the claim, but if true this would be the second shoot-down of a Syrian aircraft this week, after rebels forced down an attack helicopter on the outskirts of Damascus on Monday.

In that case there was speculation among rebel spokesmen that looted anti-aircraft weapons may have been used. In this case it appears they are explicitly trying to credit ground-based weapons for the shoot-down, likely to prevent Western concerns that al-Qaeda-linked portions of the rebel movement are acquiring advanced anti-aircraft capabilities.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.