Syrian rebels claim to shoot down MiG fighter jet; Syria blames technical error

12:01 PM, Aug 13, 2012   |    comments
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Syrian rebels claim to have shot down a Syrian MiG fighter jet, while Syrian state-run media say a pilot ejected from a warplane after a technical failure, the Associated Press reports.

 


 


(USA TODAY) -- Syrian rebels claim to have shot down a Syrian MiG fighter jet, while Syrian state-run media say a pilot ejected from a warplane after a technical failure, the Associated Press reports.

Activists released a 33-second video that they claim shows the warplane catching fire after being hit by ground fire over the eastern province of Deir el-Zour.

Al Jazeera's Syria blog reports that an unidentified man can be heard on the YouTube video shouting "God is great!" and screaming that a MiG has been hit in the town of Muhasen.

If confirmed, it would be the first time that Syrian rebels have shot down a Syrian warplane and would suggest that they had obtained ground-to-air missiles.

The official SANA news agency says the warplane "encountered technical problems" during a training mission.

"The pilot ejected and searches are now underway to find him," SANA says, according to Al Jazeera.

The New York Times notes that that the video does not clearly show any missile hitting the plane and that the rebels' claim cannot be independently verified.

But The Times notes that rebels have been seeking anti-aircraft weapons for weeks and that recent unconfirmed reports suggest that Turkey may have passed shoulder-launched Stinger missiles to them.

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