A terrorist group operating near the Idlib de-escalation zone in northwest Syria on Saturday shot down a Russian Su-25 fighter - the first Russian plane downed in Syria since 2015. The pilot safely ejected and survived the crash - but was later killed by jihadists on the ground.
Video published by the Ebaa News Agency depicted the downing of the jet from the terrorists' perspective, showing what appears to be a MANPADS lock on and strike the jet, and - later - the terrorists swarming the wreckage, according to RT.
Of course, the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin wasn't going to let this latest affront go unanswered: on Friday, it published footage of a series of precision missile strikes that were said to have killed 30 militants.
Meanwhile, new footage apparently depicting the pilot's last moments has surfaced on an Arab-language YouTube channel called IDLIB+. In the footage, a pack of terrorists can be seen advancing on what appears to be the pilot, later identified as Major Roman Philipov (pictured below).
As the militants surround the pilot, a man’s voice can be heard shouting in Russian “This is for the boys!” followed by a bang and a column of smoke is seen rising from behind the rock. It’s not clear whether any militants were killed or wounded in the blast.
The Russian Department of Defense later confirmed that the officer fought with the militants until the last minute, according to the statement. "After the militants surrounded the heavily-wounded Philipov, he waited till they approached and detonated a grenade", according to RT.
Philipov was reportedly an experienced pilot who had successfully fulfilled dozens of military tasks in Syria, including eliminating terrorist groups and escorting humanitarian convoys to liberated areas.