REBELS SHOOT DOWN GOVERNMENT JET, SHELL KURDISH NEIGHBOURHOOD
BEIRUT Syrian insurgents shot down a government warplane in the north of the country Tuesday and shelled a predominantly Kurdish neighbourhood in the city of Aleppo, killing at least 14 people, monitoring groups and state media said.
State TV said the warplane was shot down with a surface-to-air missile while on a reconnaissance mission over the northern province of Aleppo, adding that the pilot ejected and “work is ongoing to rescue him.”
Opposition activists said the warplane was shot down near the village of al-Ais, which was captured Saturday by insurgents spearheaded by members of Jabhat al-Nusra — al-Qaida’s branch in Syria.
The downing of the warplane and latest fighting and shelling in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and former commercial centre, threaten to undermine a U.S.-Russia-brokered ceasefire that has largely held since Feb. 27.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the pilot was captured by Jabhat al-Nusra members, who took him to one of their offices in the area. The Local Co-ordination Committees said the warplane was a Sukhoi-22.
An amateur video posted online showed a man who appeared to be a pilot as he was being captured by militants in the area.