Syrian Su-24 Shot Down by Rebel Anti-Aircraft Fire

first published on March 20, 2018 by

Video of a purported Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF) Su-24 attack aircraft being shot down by Syrian rebels near the East Qalamoun mountains on Sunday. Though unconfirmed, it appears the multi-role jet was brought down by anti-aircraft guns and not a shoulder fire missile – the crew’s fate is still unknown at this time.

A recent alliance between Syrian rebel groups named Jaysh Tahrir al-Sham (JTS), released a video on Sunday of the purported downing of a SAAF Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer near the East Qalamoun mountains. The shoot-down comes amidst JTS offensive operations against the SAA in the large rebel pocket northeast of Damascus. Likely taking advantage of the overstretched SAA and its continuing bloody offensive in nearby eastern Ghouta.

The grainy and often out of focus video seems to support rebels claim to have downed the Syrian jet with anti-aircraft guns; as there are no obvious vapor trails from a Man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS). While the Syrian military claimed the aircraft crashed in Syrian government held territory, no information is yet available on the crew.

The video purportedly shows the Soviet-era aircraft flying low in the overcast skies, occasionally managing to conceal itself in the thick clouds. Though visually difficult to confirm, the smoke trails and audible sounds suggests that the aircraft makes several gun-runs targeting JTS positions and may be hit during, or soon after one such pass.

With a flame seemingly larger than the jets afterburner engulfing the aircraft, it appears to catch fire and begins trailing thick smoke. After flying a short distance, the Su-24 starts a noticeable free fall and crashes to the earth in flames and black smoke. No parachutes from either of the jets two-man crew are observable in the video.