Russian warplanes carried out heavy raids in Syria’s northern Latakia province a day after Turkey downed one of Moscow’s jets in the area, a monitoring group said on Wednesday. “Russian warplanes have since last night been carrying out heavy air strikes on the Jabal Akrad and Jabal Turkman regions” in the north of the province, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
He said Russian planes had carried out at least 12 strikes in the area since the morning, but had no information on any casualties. A media activist on the ground confirmed the heavy strikes, which he said centred around the Jabal Nuba area where rebels on Tuesday destroyed a Russian helicopter that was forced to make an emergency landing by opposition fire.
One member of the crew was killed but the rest were rescued. State television reported that Syrian warplanes were also carrying out strikes in the north of Latakia, a coastal province that is largely controlled by the regime. In recent days, regime forces have been waging fierce battles against rebels in the northern part of the province, making some advances in Jabal Akrad and Jabal Turkman.
On Tuesday, Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft over the province, and rebels killed one of the pilots as he parachuted down after ejecting from the plane. A second pilot was rescued by Russian and Syrian special forces. Russia began strikes in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on September 30, over a year after a US-led coalition began strikes in the country against the Islamic State group.