It also raises questions about the source of the apparent “man-portable air-defense system,” or MANPADS, a shoulder-fired weapon for which Syria’s rebels have repeatedly pleaded from their international backers. The United States has been strongly opposed, fearing that antiaircraft weapons could fall into the hands of the country’s extremist groups.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said any allegation that the United States has provided MANPAD missiles in Syria was untrue, and she denied that U.S. equipment was used in shooting down the Russian plane.
“The United States has never provided MANPAD missiles to any group in Syria, and we are deeply concerned that such weapons are being used,” she said.
Saraqeb has come under heavy bombardment from Russian and Syrian warplanes in recent days as pro-government forces try to recapture a strategic highway linking Damascus to Aleppo. The White Helmets civil defense group said Saturday seven civilians had been killed in at least 25 strikes on largely residential areas, some of them using barrel bombs.
In the hours after the Russian jet was downed, Moscow also claimed to have killed more than 30 militants in the area, Interfax reported. The agency quoted the Defense Ministry as
Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russian-pilot-killed-after-jet-is-downed-by-syrian-rebels/2018/02/03/a91e6ec8-08fa-11e8-b48c-b07fea957bd5_story.html
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