Radical militants used an anti-aircraft missile to shot down the Su-22 warplane on August 14, Syria’s Defense Ministry announced.
“One of our warplanes, which was tasked today 14-8-2019 with a mission to destroy headquarters of the al-Nusra Front in the area of al-Tamanah, was subjected to a hit with an anti-aircraft missile launched by the terrorist organizations stationed in that area, as a result it was shot down,” a statement by the ministry reads.
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham [previously known as the al-Nusra Front] and its allies from the “al-Fatah al-Mubin” operations room claimed responsibility for the downing of the warplane, saying that their “air defense companies” brought it down.
The warplane pilot, identified as Lt. Col. Mohammed Ahmed Suleiman from Deir Ezzor, was captured by HTS militants following a six-hour long search operation.
Idlib militants are known for possessing several types of MANPADs, including Soviet-made 9K38 Igla and Chinese-made FN-6 missiles.
Last month, a Su-22 was hit with a MANPAD over northern Hama. However, the experienced pilot was able to land safely in an unspecified airbase in Homs.