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Syria warplane crashes due to technical fault: Army

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows a Syrian army jet taking off from al-Dumeir military airport, 40 km northeast of Damascus, on April 8, 2016. (AFP photo)

The Syrian army has cited technical fault after one of its warplanes crashed near the capital Damascus.

Syrian army officials ruled out speculation about a militant attack for the Friday crash, saying the plane had a record of undergoing repairs recently.  

“... there was no attack from the ground. It crashed because of a technical fault,” Russia’s Interfax agency quoted a source, adding that the pilot had successfully bailed out. 

Daesh, a Takfiri group operating mainly in east and north Syria, claimed earlier in the day that it had brought down a Syrian fighter jet near Damascus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based group advocating militants, also said said the plane crashed southwest of Damascus airport after flying over territory controlled by Daesh.

Daesh, along with al-Qaeda-linked Nusra front, are excluded from a truce deal which has been on hold in Syria since end of February.

Fierce clashes have continued between government forces and Daesh militants near Dumeir military airport, 40 km northeast of Damascus. The militants eye the capture of a major power plant and a cement factory in the area.

The ceasefire agreement, engineered by the United States and Russia, was meant to facilitate an ongoing round of talks under the auspices of the United Nations between the Syrian government and internationally-sanctioned opposition groups.

Between 270,000 and 470,000 people, based on various reports, have been killed in more than four years of militancy in Syria. The government, backed by Russia’s air cover, has managed to recapture key areas from militants over the past months.

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