Syria rebels shot down war plane in Hama: activists

BEIRUT Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:19am EST

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian activists said rebels in central Hama province shot down a government fighter jet on Monday, in clashes outside a village loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Rebels began a push into Hama last week, declaring it a new front in their 21-month-old revolt against Assad. The largely Sunni Muslim rebels have now brought the fight to several minority Christian and Alawite towns, where Assad forces are located and where many residents are loyal to the government.

Activist Sami al-Hamawi said rebels used anti-aircraft machineguns to bring down the plane outside the Alawite village of Maan, which rebels have been trying to lay siege to for several days. He said the plane was flying low over an area rebels had seized.

It was not possible to independently verify the report.

(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Alison Williams)

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