DAMASCUS, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- A Russian pilot was killed after his warplane was targeted by the Syrian rebels in the northwestern province of Idlib on Saturday, a monitor group reported.
After parachuting from his targeted warplane, the Russian pilot landed and clashed with the rebels who were attempting to capture him, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Meanwhile, other activists posted a photo purporting to show the body of a dead man, saying he was the Russian pilot.
British Sky News TV said Russian missiles, believed to be launched from a warship in the Mediterranean, hit Idlib.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the downing of the warplane and the killing of the pilot.
A day earlier, a military source told Xinhua that the Syrian army was just a few kilometers from Saraqeb, a key bastion of the al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee (LLC) in Idlib, after a two-month-long offensive by the Russian-backed Syrian army in the area.