Damascus [Syria]: Militants operating in the Idlib province shot down a Syrian air force plane on Wednesday, Syria’s state television reported.
The whereabouts of the pilot is unknown.
“One of our military aircraft, whose task was to destroy headquarters of the Nusra Front terrorist group [banned in Russia] in the al-Tamania area, was shot down on August 14 by a missile launched by terrorists from armed groups operating in the region,” Syrian military source said as quoted by Syria TV television.
The escalation in the region comes despite the Syrian government early this month signed a truce in the northwestern region of Idlib on a condition that a Turkish-Russian buffer zone deal is implemented. Russia, Turkey and Iran are the guarantors of the ceasefire in the conflict-ravaged Syria.
Syria has been marred by civil war since 2011.
More than 370,000 people were killed and millions were displaced in Syria and abroad since the beginning of the Syrian war in March 2011.
The Russian-backed offensive has so far failed to make major inroads into rebel territory in northern Hama and southern Idlib provinces, where the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) is putting up fierce resistance in their last remaining bastion in Syria.
However, Moscow and the Syrian army have repeatedly denied allegations of indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas or any campaign to paralyse the daily life in rebel-held areas.
Russia has blamed the terrorist group for breaking a truce by hitting government-held areas and said Turkey has failed to live up to its obligations under a deal brokered last year which created a buffer zone in the area that obliges it to push out rebels.
According to the United Nations, nearly half of the estimated three million inhabitants in northwest Syria – including Idlib province and parts of neighbouring provinces – had already fled the fighting and moved to areas near the border with Turkey.