Syrian War Report – February 5, 2018: Su-25 Shootdown Marks New Round Of Escalation In Idlib

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On February 3, militants shot down a Su-25 warplane of the Russian Aerospace Forces with a man-portable air-defense system (MANPAD) over the village of Khan al-Sabil southwest of the city of Saraqib in the province of Idlib.

Originally, Jaysh al-Nasr, a militant group that had been supplied with US-made TOW anti—tank missiles, claimed that its members had downed the warplane. Later, the media wing of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) released a video of the MANPAD launch. This confirmed that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) members were involved in the attack.

The Su-25 pilot ejected, but was killed in a fighting on the ground. The militants were not able to capture him alive.

According to the Russian media, the pilot identified as Major Roman Filippov. He was a former Ukrainian pilot from the city of Simpferopol in what is now the Russian Republic of Crimea. [UPDATE 5.02.2018, 18:33 CET: the Russian media outlet RBC reported that Major Filippov was serving in Russia’s Primorsky Krai, not Crimea]

On the same day, the Russian Aerospace Forces delivered “a series of high-precision weapons strikes” on the area from which the MANPAD was launched and killed at least 30 militants, according to the country’s defense ministry. On February 4, over 70 Russian airstrikes hit positions of HTS and its allies.

According to Russian MP Vikotor Volodarsky, Syrian and Russian forces are working to trace the MANPAD missile and to find how exactly it had appeared in the hands of the militants.

The Idlib incident took place while the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and other pro-government factions were focusing on combating ISIS in northeastern Hama. Government forces liberated the villages of al-Judaydah, Samiriyah, Umm Hurizah, Tulayhat, Abu Kusur and Ma’saran.

HTS, the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and their allies used the situation to launch a large-scale attack on SAA positions in eastern Idlib on February 4. By February 5, they had entered Tell Sultan, Ras al-Ayn and Baris. The main fighting took place in Tell Sultan where 25 militants were reportedly killed by the Tiger Forces. The situation on the frontline remains tense.

On February 3, 7 soldiers of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) were killed in clashes with Kurdish militias. Five soldiers died in near the settlement of Sheikh Haruz northeast of the YPG-held city of Afrin when Kurdish forces targeted a TAF battle tank. One more soldier died in a separate incident in the Afrin area. Another one was killed in the Turkish border province of Kilis.

It is interesting to note that Ankara continues arguing that Turkish forces fight some mysterious ISIS terrorists in the Afrin area. However, for all neutral observers it is clear that there is no ISIS in Afrin.

On February 4, the TAF and the Free Syrian Army entered the villages of Haj Bilal and Shaykh Khurus. YPG/YPJ forces repelled Turkish-led attacks on the villages of Blikah and Shakwarzi where they reportedly destroyed a bulldozer of Turkey-led forces.

Reports also appeared that Faylaq al-Sham, the Free Idlib Army and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement had sent their fighters to participate in Ankara’s Operation Olive Branch in Afrin. If this is confirmed, soon the YPG/YPJ will face an additional pressure on the ground.

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  • Oingo Boingo

    Look to the senile Deep State & CIA stooge John McCain for the answer regarding where the MANPAD missile and other USA armaments came from.
    The phony “rebels” in Syria are creatures of The CIA and MOSSAD.
    Wake up and smell the Zionist mendacity.

  • leon mc pilibin

    The Russians mean business,,that was a stupid mistake by the zionist puppets to shoot down their plane and kill their pilot.They will pay a very heavy price.

    • Ma_Laoshi

      The puppets were always meant to be expendable; not even Turks want HTS goons coming back to their own country. Through many years of bloody conflict, the puppet masters have yet to pay any price besides cheap taxpayer money. And for all the Bear’s occasional growling, it’s clear that the RF isn’t going to exact one on their partners. Now I get that the Kremlin can hardly go to war with ISIS, Israel, Saudis, and NATO all at once, but this collapse of Russian deterrence is a big long-term problem which Russia should address urgently.

      • CyricRenner

        They are decoupling from the US dollar and others are following. That is the biggest threat the Empire of Chaos faces. Without the ability to print, the jig is up.

        • Ma_Laoshi

          Yes, that’s the other side of it, and godspeed to them. But right now, the Russian elite themselves (admittedly not a monolithic thing) are not keen to move their assets out of the dollar without … encouragement from Trump and Congress. So it’s still going to be a long while.

          • George King

            US stock market dropped 1,175 points, I would call that encouragement and any hesitation on selling off cost the Russian elite big time. The list may have played a part in this, time will tell as the market has not opened this morning after the sell off yesterday.

    • 1691

      While they are serching for the serial number of that manpad I ‘ve been thinking about bibi visiting Moscow a week ago. Shooting the plane and causing the death of the pilot did not happen by chance.

      • Tudor Miron

        Do you mean that Bibi didn’t like the outcome of his visit?

        • 1691

          Yes.bibi throws his toys out of the cot when he is not happy. Remember Shoigu’s last visit to hell aviv? They shot a s 2000 battery just before he landed.Although the media did not provide much about the meeting Putin made a few remarkable points.

      • EL ZORRO

        The UNITED STATES DEEP STATE/ISRAEL grind the serial number of the manpad.

        • Empire’s Frontiers

          There are many manufactured small components that make up the device. Their origin may be more clear.

      • CyricRenner

        Have they been able to identify the type of model? Manufacturer? I heard either an American stinger or Soviet Strela.

        • 1691

          Not yet. Stinger, strela or igla. It can be any type. The damage is done. The pilot is dead. We know who supplies the terrorists, don’t we?

          • Whitehotanger!

            To steal a quote from Hillary on Benghazi ; “at this point, what difference does it make?”
            A good man is dead, Muslim terrorists have a small victory, and the Zio- American occupiers are to blame!😡

  • wimroffel

    Just days ago we say the picture of a mappad that was captured by the Turkish supported rebels from the Kurds in Afrin. Might that be related?

    • antoun

      kurdes d,afrin are take manpad at hts sure!!!

  • antoun

    false the SAA d,ont never captured the town barys and ras an ays propaganda djihadist only captured tell turquan and tell sultan!!!

  • leon mc pilibin

    While all this is going on,the oscar winning White Helmets have just released another false flag chemical attack sequeal.This comes right on cue after mad dog mattis last week more or less gave them the green light to do this…They really do think that people are dumb idiots to believe this lying BS.

    • FlorianGeyer

      Its the dumb idiots in the US government we need to worry about I think ? :)
      The electorate have no say over the matter either way.

      • Ruby

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    • Astar Roth

      Any links to that?

      • Drogba

        Are you brain dead.?

        • Astar Roth

          I just asked, no need for insults, homes.

      • Ronald

        http://www.21stcenturywire.com- white/helmets:channel4/bbc/theguardian/-archiitects/of/”humanitarian”/war/ by Vanessa Beeley Feb 1/2018

        • Astar Roth

          Thanks friend.

  • Manuel Flores Escobar

    Time to launch cruise missile vs Tripoli FSA nest!..surely they gave Manpads to terrorist!

    • Astar Roth

      Why Tripoli?

  • EL ZORRO

    “According to Russian MP Vikotor Volodarsky, Syrian and Russian forces are working to trace the MANPAD missile and to find how exactly it had appeared in the hands of the militants”.TRANSLATION…Syrian and Russian forces are tracing how the UNITED STATES/ISRAEL/ SAUDI ARABIA smuggled the MANPAD TO THE INTERNATIONAL MERCENARY TERRORIST.

    • Astar Roth

      Yeah😁, that’s right.

  • S600

    I am wondering that if Russians have changed their rules of engagement as far as flying goes.. earlier they were flying way higher then range of Anti aircraft and regular manpads. In result only low flying and Syrian planes were being shot once or twice.

    A day earlier then the incident another or same aircraft was hit by anti aircraft and nearly ended in disaster. Air command should have learned the lesson but they still send the plane at lower corridor and without seemingly anti missile flares(etc). People responsible from mission control/planning should also be investigated with this lapse of judgement and unnecessary loss of life.

    There are lot of parties carrying manpads and anyone could supply the weapon not forgetting that last week some were captured by FSA in Afrin from Kurds and this one could be from the same lot.

    Best path should be to stick with high altitude flying and dropping bombs and precision strikes instead of low flying shootouts.

    • horst

      Well I am also questioning why in the video were the missile hits are no signs of flares or chaffs. Are they as crazy to fly without them? Or was it a missile which did not get detected.
      It was supposedly flying for a couple minutes with a burning right engine,…why was he not going east,…and Su25 with burned out engines did made it back in Afghanistan before. Very sad to loose this Pilot !!!

  • Astar Roth

    I’m very sorry for the death of young pilot, but this slap is needed for Russians to take harsh measures, and do some real business with heavy ordinance.

  • YOoo

    This is a game-changer, especially after the drone strike on their base. Assad and his militias have 0 impact without Russian Aerospace forces.

  • Mikronos

    A ‘Turkish convoy’ was reported in that area on a Syria war map last week. A strange place for a Turkish convoy – going from/to where and why? Related to this?