Damascus denies jet was shot down

A warplane that came down in an eastern province crashed because of a technical failure and its pilot ejected, according to state media, while rebels claim they shot it down and captured the pilot.

Activists released a video apparently showing a Soviet-made MiG-23 catching fire after it was hit by ground fire over Deir el-Zour province. It was not possible to independently verify the video. Sana news agency said the plane was on a training mission when a "technical failure occurred".

If the rebels indeed shot down the jet, it would be a major advance in their military capabilities as well as a big blow to the regime.