Though Syria's state-run television and Bashar al-Assad's forces say "technical malfunctions" sent a fighter jet crashing down from the sky today, YouTube videos from rebel forces tell a different side of the story. Syrian rebels claimed to have shot down the MiG fighter jet, which would be a first for the normally outgunned opposition forces, who later claimed to have also captured the pilot. That last bit is unconfirmed, but they did provided these two videos of the plane exploding into flames and going down.
Of course, the Assad regime, as it has in the past, is downplaying (as best they can) their fighter jet going down in flames, blaming the crash on technical problems during a "regular training mission," according to Reuters. These contrasting stories of the same event (like the hard-to-pinpoint number of civillians killed, or whether or not Assad's forces were killing people while he blocked the Red Cross from accessing Homs, etc.) have been a feature of most of the information coming from the region during this ongoing civil war. But it's hard to argue that video is one of a standard training malfunction. Obviously, we're not ballistic or anti-aircraft weaponry experts by any means, but The New York Times's Damien Cave explains one possibility.
It is not clear how or why the plane exploded. No missile could clearly be seen in the video, and it is possible that some kind of technical error on the plane itself was responsible for the crash. But rebels have been clamoring for antiaircraft weapons for weeks, and there have been unconfirmed reports over the past two weeks suggesting that Turkey had passed shoulder-fired Stinger missiles to the rebels.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.