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Downed fighter pilot captured by al-Qaeda in Syria

A Syrian pilot has been captured by an affiliate of al Qaeda after ejecting from his plane. The group has been waging war against Assad's forces despite an ongoing ceasefire.

The pilot was reportedly captured on Tuesday in an area outside of Aleppo after his warplane was shot down by al-Nusra Front, a Syria-based group with strong ties to al Qaeda.

Syria's military confirmed that a plane had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said the pilot had been taken back to the group's headquarters in the area.

Earlier this week, al-Nusra fighters pushed Syrian government troops out of the area of Talat al-Iss, the same area where the pilot's plane was downed. Since then, the group has come under heavy bombardment from both government and Russian forces.

Video footage showed a plume of smoke rising from the wreckage and a group of rebels surrounding the plane.

Al-Nusra, like other terror groups with a presence in Syria, is not part of the US- and Russia-led ceasefire agreed upon by the Syrian government and Western-backed rebel forces on February 27.

blc/jil (AFP, Reuters)

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