Syria Army Makes Fresh Gains in Aleppo, Idlib

However, later reports suggested the Russian pilot had been killed by rebel fighters after he resisted capture by opening fire with his pistol.

Rahman said he was unable to confirm which rebel faction shot down the plane, with several opposition forces and the jihadi Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group still active in Idlib.

Russian air force losses have been rare since it began its Syria campaign in September 2015.

The Russia-based, independent Conflict Intelligence Team posted photographs they say showed the dead body of the pilot and a paper recommending a man named Major Roman Fillipov for a state award that was allegedly filled out by Russian air group commander Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Aksyonov.

Footage circulating on Twitter allegedly shows the burning Su-25 plane plunging to the ground.

The authenticity of the video could not be independently confirmed.

The observatory earlier reported more than 35 airstrikes on Saraqeb since late Friday and said that many residents were fleeing the area.

A source in the Syrian Army also confirmed to Sputnik that elite assault units of the army have liberated multiple villages, all of which are located to the south-west of the previously liberated airbase Abu al-Duhur.

Saraqeb has come under heavy aerial bombardment as government forces push toward a strategic highway.

Russian Federation has increased bombing runs in Idlib in the last month, which has resulted in more than one hundred civilian deaths and displaced more than 100,000 people.

Meanwhile, fighting raged on Saturday between Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition fighters, and a Syrian Kurdish militia in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin.

A total of 13 Turkish soldiers and at least 24 allied Syrian opposition fighters have died so far in Ankara's offensive, which started on January 20.

Turkey shares a 911-kilometre border with Syria.

  • Rogelio Becker