Details of Operation to Rescue Russian Su-24 Co-Pilot Revealed

© Sputnik / Dmitriy VinogradovRussian pilot gets into a Su-24 aircraft before taking off at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria
Russian pilot gets into a Su-24 aircraft before taking off at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria - Sputnik International
Several members of the Syrian special forces that were taking part in an operation to rescue the surviving co-pilot of the downed Russian Su-24 plane, were injured, a source familiar with the details of the operation told RIA Novosti.

DAMASCUS (Sputnik) – A Russian Su-24 jet crashed in Syria on Tuesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the plane was downed by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish F-16 jet over Syrian territory, falling 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the Turkish border.

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The crew of the plane ejected and the captain was killed from the ground, according to the Russian General Staff. The co-pilot survived and was taken to a Russian base in Syria after a successful 12-hour search and rescue operation, which ended on Wednesday, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

"In one of the units of the Syrian special forces that were covering the Russian search and rescue team, three soldiers sustained light injuries. In the second group, two were seriously injured," the source said, adding that he had no information on the third special forces unit that took part in the operation.

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A source familiar with the operation told RIA Novosti that several Syrian special forces units were providing cover for the Russian search and rescue team. One Russian naval infantry soldier was killed in the course of the operation, according to the Russian General Staff.

Russia has been conducting airstrikes against Islamic State radicals’ positions in Syria since the end of September. The military operation was launched at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The deputy chair of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Javier Couso, told Sputnik earlier this month that Turkey is "almost directly" complicit in financing ISIL by purchasing oil smuggled by the militants.

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