Russian envoy: Second pilot from downed plane alive, in hands of Syrian army

Russia's ambassador to France says pilot believed to be en route to Russian air force base in Syria.

By REUTERS
November 25, 2015 10:10
2 minute read.
Russia Syria

Video shows Russian pilot on ground. (photo credit: screenshot)

 
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One of the two Russian pilots who ejected from a jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday has been picked up by the Syrian army and is being taken to Russia's base there, Russia's ambassador to France said on Wednesday.

"One on board was wounded when he parachuted down and killed in a savage way on the ground by the jihadists in the area and the other managed to escape and, according to the latest information, has been picked up by the Syrian army and should be going back to the Russian air force base," ambassador Alexandre Orlov told Europe 1 radio.

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A Syrian rebel group released video Tuesday of one of the Russian pilots, lifeless and incapicitated on the ground. Russia later confirmed that it was their pilot who was killed.
Syrian rebel group releases video of downed Russian pilot

Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday after repeated warnings over air space violations, but Moscow said it could prove the jet had not left Syrian air space.

Footage from private Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV showed the warplane going down in flames in a woodland area, a long plume of smoke trailing behind it. The plane went down in an area known by Turks as "Turkmen Mountain," it said.

Separate footage from Turkey's Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the jet before it crashed. A Syrian rebel group sent a video to Reuters that appeared to show one of the pilots immobile and badly wounded on the ground and an official from the group said he was dead.

The video was posted to social media websites, a portion of which was sent to Reuters by the rebel group, which operates in the northwestern area of Syria. Their territory includes where groups including Free Syrian Army are operating but Islamic State has no known presence.



Voices can be heard on the video as a group of men surrounds the incapacitated man.

"This is the Russian pilot, this is the Russian pilot. God is great," they say. "The tenth brigade has has captured the Russian pilot. God is great. There is only one God. All the mujahideen."

The official from the group, who declined to be named for security reasons, did not mention a second Russian pilot who was in the plane.

The military uniform of the incapacitated man in the video matches images previously released by the Russian Defense Ministry and Reuters file photographs of pilots from that country operating out of Hmeymim air base near Latakia in Syria.

It was the first time a NATO member's armed forces have downed a Russian or Soviet military aircraft since the 1950s and Russian and Turkish assets fell on fears of an escalation between the former Cold War enemies.

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