LATAKIA, Syria – Just hours ago, Thursday May 3, a Russian military jet crashed off the coast of Syria near the Khmeimim airbase, which killed the two pilots on board. Fort Russ has learned this from an official statement from the Russian Defense Ministry.
The Russian Su-30SM was downed in the Mediterranean Sea just after taking off from Syria’s Khmeimim Airbase. Details surrounding this are still unclear. Russian officials are denying foul play or an an attack. According to the Russian defense ministry, the pilots “fought to take the aircraft under control till the last minute,” .
Officially, the Russians have speculated that the crash may have been caused by a bird hitting the engine based on what they are terming the ‘preliminary data’. They are denying that the aircraft came under fire or that the downing was the result of sabotage.
The Su-30SM is the first warplane in the Su-30 family of “Flankers” which the Russian Airforce has lost in its history, not only in the Syrian conflict.
Further questions remained unanswered such as, why the pilots were unable to eject from the plane, given that the accident was not the result of an attack, and were apparently not in an area where such an ejection would have been impossible.
Russia had previously, on 6 March 2018 a 2018 Antonov An-26 transport, which crashed as it approached its landing area. Six crew members as well as 33 passengers, all of them military personnel, were killed in the crash. Machine gun fire was heard from the ground during that incident, and Jaish al-Islam took responsibility for the downing. Officially Russia has not ascribed a cause for that crash, and is under investigation.
As of the time of publishing, Fort Russ News is not aware of any ‘rebel’ faction taking responsibility for today’s aircraft downing, and it would also seem reasonable for the Russian Federation to downplay any incidents which may otherwise tend to bolster or credit the anti-air capacities of the forces attacking Syria.