Syrian pilot killed as military jet shot down over northern Hama province

Follows intense aerial strikes by Russian and Syrian air forces in the region

Tuesday 26 December 2017 21:36
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The military jet was shot down over the Hama province
The military jet was shot down over the Hama province

The pilot of a Syrian military jet died when he was shot down by insurgents, according state television in the country.

The plane was downed over the northern Hama province, which has seen intense aerial strikes by Russian and Syrian air forces in the country’s civil war.

Dozens of civilians have been killed in the bombing of towns away from front lines in the last few weeks, according to rescue workers and witnesses.

The fighting has continued as proposed peace talks by Russia were rejected by Syrian rebels and opposition groups.

They have accused Moscow of failing to apply necessary pressure on its ally, Syrian president Bashar Assad, to end the conflict.

Forty rebel groups said the talks expected next month are an attempt to circumvent the United Nations-led process, which has made virtually no progress since it began in 2014.

The groups, including Ahrar al-Sham, Army of Islam, and western and regionally backed Free Syrian Army groups, said Moscow asked them to give up their demand for Mr Assad to step down.

But they rejected the call, calling Russia “an aggressor that has committed war crimes against Syrians”.

They said they are committed to the UN-led Geneva process, and urged the international community to end the bloodshed, now in its seventh year.

Agencies contributed to this report

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