Lebanese soldiers in Arsal, at Syrian border.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Syrian military aircraft crashed overnight in the province of Idlib, killing at least 35 soldiers on-board, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and AFP reported Monday.
While Syria's state media did not report a death toll, it did release its version of the circumstances surrounding the crash.
“A medium-sized cargo plane crashed last night while landing at the Abu al-Duhur military airport because of bad weather conditions and heavy fog, killing the crew on board,” state news agency SANA said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed this claim, alleging that the aircraft collided with electricity lines when it encountered heavy fog.
Yet al-Qaida's local affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, claimed the crash as the result of their own operations, uploading photographs of the downed plane, including images of those killed on board to Twitter.
Jabhat al-Nusra has been fighting the Syrian regime's forces throughout the war-torn country's eastern provinces for over three years and has also faced off against the regime's Lebanese ally, the Iranian Shiite proxy, Hezbollah in the Golan.
The war's sprawling and destabilizing nature has often resulted in one faction's account of an incident to be disputed and twisted by another.
In December the Islamic State group, a rival of Jabhat al-Nusra, claimed to have shot down a Jordanian plane, capturing its pilot. whose fate remains unclear. Jordanian and American spokesman both denied that the aircraft was brought down directly by Islamic State, asserting that its crash was an accident.