MOSCOW --- A Su-25 fighter jet of the Russian Aerospace Force was shot down by militants in Syria on Saturday, the pilot ejected but was killed later by terrorists, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
"On 3 February 2018, a Russian fighter jet Su-25 crashed when flying over the Idlib de-escalation zone. The pilot was able to report ejection from an area controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra militants (the terrorist group banned in Russia - TASS)," the defense ministry said. "The pilot was killed while fighting against terrorists."
"According to preliminary information, the jet was brought down with a portable anti-aircraft missile system," it added.
"The Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides in Syria alongside the Turkish side, responsible for the Idlib de-escalation zone, are taking steps to retrieve the Russian pilot’s body," the ministry said.
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.