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DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:00 P.M.) – A slightly humorous event took place in Idlib on Friday as the leader of Ahrar Al-Sham, Abu Ammar Al-Omar, personally congratulated two of the group’s anti-aircraft fighters on shooting down a Russian military helicopter on March 27 in a mountainous region over Latakia and downing a Syrian MiG-21 jet on March 4 in Idlib.

Just hours after Ahrar Al-Sham claimed to have shot down the Russian chopper last Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry denied losing the aircraft in mention. Al-Masdar News later obtained information from a credible military source who stated the Russian helicopter was damaged but returned safely to Khmeimim Airbase shortly after. Nevertheless, Ahrar Al-Sham stuck to its guns on the initial claim despite not providing any footage as proof.

In addition, although a Syrian MiG-21 was indeed was downed on March 4 due to damage caused by jihadist anti-aircraft fire, the warplane crashed across the border in Hatay province while the pilot was captured hours later by Turkish authorities. According to Ahrar Al-Sham however, the Syrian jet was supposedly downed in Idlib province; this claim was soon after disproved by photos released by the Turkish government.

It was not immediately clear if the Ahrar Al-Sham ceremony was part of a media stunt or not. More pictures of the event can be for below:

Chris Tomson | AMN

Chris Tomson | AMN

Ahrar Al-Sham enjoys backing from Saudi Arabia and is one of the largest rebel factions in Syria, second only to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham. The Islamist group is considered a terrorist organization by Russia, Syria, Iran, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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Stern Daler
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Stern Daler
2017-04-01 01:43
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Cheap propaganda. No wreck no kill. They must boost morale somehow.

Daeshbags Sux
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Daeshbags Sux
2017-04-02 05:34
Reply to  Stern Daler

They mostly ridicule themselves than anything else.
Nevertheless, I really ask myself if their sponsors are conscious that that leading a proxy war is as much a casus belli as a direct act. Such act (shooting at a Russian aircraft) is nothing else than an act of war against Russia… Russia could absolutely legally send a volley of Kalibr against KSA.
Many ME leaders are irresponsible. Same thing about Iran delivering ballistic missiles to be smuggled into Lebanon.
The only thing that prevents such actions to be taken is other actors not willing things to escalate.

Stern Daler
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Stern Daler
2017-04-02 08:08
Reply to  Daeshbags Sux

Blame society.

Assad must stay
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Assad must stay
2017-03-31 22:12
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Small swindlers :mrgreen:

Stern Daler
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Stern Daler
2017-04-01 01:44

Yes I absolutely agree.

They merely try to keep up morale by lying.