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Syrian state-run media say a pilot ejected from a warplane after technical failure while rebels claim they shot it down.
Activists released a video which they claim shows a government Soviet-made MiG warplane catching fire apparently after it was hit by ground fire over the eastern province of Deir el-Zour. The warplane appears to be spiral into a ball of flames. It was impossible to independently verify the video.
SANA news agency says that warplane was on a training mission on Monday, adding that a search is under way to find the pilot.
The label on the YouTube video said a group called the Youth of the Land of the Euphrates was responsible, though a commentary on YouTube also described it as “the downing of a MiG 23 by the Grandsons of Mohammed Brigade.” It is not clear how or why the plane exploded.
No missile could clearly be seen in the video, and it is possible that some kind of technical error on the plane itself was responsible for the crash. But rebels have been clamoring for antiaircraft weapons for weeks, and there have been unconfirmed reports over the past two weeks suggesting that Turkey had passed shoulder-fired Stinger missiles to the rebels.
The jet apparently went down in Mohassan, a small town southeast of Deir al-Zour