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Syria: Rebels say warplane downed and pilot captured

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Syria: Rebels say warplane downed and pilot captured


A Syrian fighter pilot is in the hands of rebels amid claims his warplane was shot down, according to a video posted on the internet.

He says he is being well-treated and that his mission was to bombard the town of al-Muhassan in the east.

State media insists technical problems caused the jet to crash during a “regular training mission”.

As fighting rages across Syria, the head of the faltering UN monitoring mission there has accused both sides of ignoring the plight of civilians caught up in the conflict.

“It is clear that violence is increasing in many parts of Syria,” General Babacar Gaye said in Damascus.
“The indiscriminate use of heavy weapons by the government and targeted attacks by the opposition in urban centres are inflicting the heavy toll on innocent civilians.”

The downing of a warplane would be a rare coup for lightly-armed rebels faced with the superior weaponry of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. In recent months the government has made increasing use of air power to try to crush the 17-month-old uprising.

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