September 21, 2016 / 10:27 AM / 3 years ago

Syrian warplane crashes near Damascus, cause unknown - monitor

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Syrian warplane crashed north of Damascus on Wednesday, but it was unclear if it had been shot down or came down because of a technical fault, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

The jet crashed in the Eastern Qalamoun area near the Syrian capital, the British-based Observatory said.

Islamic State militants, who have a presence in the area, said in an online statement that the plane had been shot down.

Syrian state media quoted a military source as confirming a warplane had crashed after targeting Islamic State. It did not give a reason for the crash. It said the pilot had been rescued.

Islamic State claimed on Sunday to have shot down another Syrian warplane that crashed near Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria.

A number of Syrian jets have crashed or been brought down by insurgent fire this year. Syria’s civil war is raging on despite international diplomatic efforts to end it.

Reporting by John Davison and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; editing by Mark Heinrich

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