first published on December 27, 2017 by Will
A hardline rebel group in Syria just released a video showing the downing of a Syrian military jet with a shoulder fired anti air missile.
Jihadist rebels of Ha’yat Tahrir ash Sham (HTS), also known as al Qaeda in Syria, just released a convincing video showing an insurgent fire a Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) heating seeking missile toward the sky amid the sound of flying aircraft. The event reportedly took place in Hama, where heavy fighting continues.
As the camera pans up, the viewer can see the vapor trail of the missile as it speeds toward the unseen aircraft. Then, it makes impact. The rebels chant and cheer and shortly thereafter, an explosion, likely caused by the crashing aircraft can be seen in the distance.
The Syrian military jet was supposedly a combat enabled variant of the Czech-made L-39 trainer aircraft. According to reports, the pilot was able to eject, but was captured shortly after. The reports also indicate that the pilot was executed by the al Qaeda insurgents, and photos and video of the murder were also posted on jihadist social media accounts.
The video appears to show the Islamists using a Russian-made SA-7 Grail missile, also known as the 9K32 Strela-2. The source of the missile is unclear, and may be hard to trace without the serial number.
The Russians exported several of the weapon system over the years. It may have come from Assad’s own stockpiles that were lost in military defeats. Some of Saddam Hussein’s MANPADS went missing after the 2003 invasion and are still unaccounted for. It could have also been one of the 120 Libyan military SA-7s that were smuggled into Syria with the help of the Arab Gulf States and the Obama Administration.
While the Islamic State may be all but crushed in Syria, HTS continues to be a very real threat to the Russian-backed Syrian government… and unlike ISIS, HTS often forms practical alliances with other “moderate” rebel groups when it suits their needs.