Syrian opposition factions on Friday said they had captured a Syrian regime pilot after downing his aircraft in the Qalamoun area in the northern countryside of Damascus, although regime officials say the plane crashed due to a technical error.
While Syria's official SANA news agency reported that the aircraft had crashed due to "technical reasons", the Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham -- two anti-regime opposition factions -- said via Twitter that the aircraft, a Russian-made Sukhoi 22, had been shot down by their forces on the ground.
Jaysh al-Islam has broadcast a video purportedly showing group members interrogating the pilot following his capture.
The group identified the pilot as Lieutenant Hasan Nawras from the city of Jableh in Syria's western Lattakia province.
Certain parts of Qalamoun continue to witness fierce fighting between Syrian regime forces and the Daesh terrorist group.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which erupted as part of the "Arab Spring" uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced across the war-battered country, according to the UN.
However, the Syrian Center for Policy Research, an NGO, has put the death toll from the six-year conflict at more than 470,000.
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