February 4, 2018
The US military has said no anti-aircraft weapons have been shipped to the militias it backs in Syria amid speculation the Russian Su-25 jet downed in Idlib, north-west Syria may have been shot down by a US-made missile.
“The United States have not provided any of its allied forces in Syria with anti-aircraft weapons,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway told TASS. He said the US-led coalition is currently not engaged in any operations in the area where the jet was downed Saturday. He added that the coalition’s combat efforts are “geographically orientated on the current fight with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL) in eastern Syria.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier the jet was attacked from the ground by rebels possibly using a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) in the designated ceasefire zone in Idlib province. The Pentagon will study “the veracity of the statements” put forward by the Russian military to ensure security of its coalition allies, Rankine-Galloway added.
Some Russian legislators and experts interviewed by local media voiced concerns that the weapons may have its origins in the West and then smuggled through a neighboring country to Syria. The deputies urged a thorough investigation to trace the air defense system’s origin.
The pilot, identified in some reports as Major Roman Filippov, ejected from the stricken aircraft and parachuted to the ground. It’s believed the officer was engaged in a firefight with militants before being killed. Purported images of his personal belongings, including his gun and a recommendation for a state honor, have surfaced on social media. As did footage of militants shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) at the sight of the jet crashing and militants taking selfies with the body of the slain pilot.
The Russian ministry, in cooperation with Turkey, is…