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Russia Awards Syrian Special Forces for Saving Su-24 Co-Pilot

© Sputnik / Dmitry VinogradovRescued Su-24 co-pilot Captain Konstantin Murahtin
Rescued Su-24 co-pilot Captain Konstantin Murahtin - Sputnik International
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The Russian Defense Ministry has awarded the members of the Syrian Special Forces, who helped to rescue a Russian co-pilot of the Su-24 bomber which was shot down by the Turkish Air Force in Syria.

Syrian soldiers received medals for "Strengthening Comradeship-in-Arms," an award given to foreign citizens for military cooperation and assistance with the Russian Army, according to photos published by Syrian journalist Hassan Ridha.

​On Tuesday, a Russian Su-24 jet was downed in Syria. 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, and crashed some 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away from the Turkish border.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin - Sputnik International
Iranian General Soleimani Supervised Operation to Save Russian Su-24 Pilot
One of the pilots from the downed bomber was killed by fire from the ground after ejection. Meanwhile the other pilot, Captain Konstantin Murahtin, managed to land on hostile territory and had to survive around 10 hours while being hunted down by the Turkmen militia.

A search-and-rescue operation was launched, made out of 18 Syrian Special Forces and six Hezbollah fighters with firsthand knowledge of the local terrain. They were tasked with saving the pilot, while Russian forces provided air and intelligence support.

As soon as they reached the front line, Russian aircraft launched airstrikes against rebels forcing them to flee. The team could then advance further into enemy territory.

The operation ended successfully and Murahtin was saved. All 24 fighters, who took part in the operation, safely reached the base.

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