MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. Massive high-precision weapons strikes have been delivered at targets in the area, from which a missile from the man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) was launched to bring down the Russian Su-25 fighter jet, 30 militants of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group (banned in Russia) have been killed, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
"A series of high-precision weapons strikes has been delivered on the area controlled by the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, from which a MANPADS missile was launched at the Russian Su-25 jet," the ministry said adding that "according to radio intercepts, more than 30 Jabhat al-Nusra militants were killed."
Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry said a Su-25 fighter jet was brought down from a portable anti-aircraft missile system over the Idlib de-escalation zone. The pilot managed to eject but was killed later while fighting against terrorists.
The Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides in Syria has teamed up with Turkish counterparts, responsible for the Idlib de-escalation zone, trying to retrieve the Russian pilot’s body, according to the ministry.
Earlier reports said that Syrian governmental forces were fighting against Jabhat al-Nusra units in the Idlib province.
In accordance with an agreement by Russia, Iran and Turkey - the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire - de-escalation zones were set up in Syria in May 2017. De-escalation zones include the Idlib Province, some parts of its neighboring areas in the Latakia, Hama and Aleppo Provinces north of the city of Homs, Eastern Ghouta, as well as the Daraa and al-Quneitra Provinces in southern Syria.