After claiming the kill of an attack helicopter a few days ago, Syrian rebel forces have posted this video showing a MiG-23 being shot down over Al Muhassan, a small town near Dayr az-Zawr, 280 miles northeast of the capital Damascus and west of the Iraq border.
The state media is claiming the plane went down on August 13 because of a mechanical problem. The rebels claim they were able to hit the MiG with anti-aircraft fire — publishing this video in YouTube as proof. The Syrian official news agency claims that the pilot was able to eject.
Until now, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's attacks on armed insurgents and civilian population have been conducted by ground forces and helicopters. Apparently, they have started to use aeroplanes like the MiG-23 under the pressure of rebel attacks.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 is a third-generation Soviet fighter built in the 1970s.The first MiG-23s reached Syria during the war against Israel, but never saw combat in that scenario because the war was over before the Syrian air force managed to assemble and test the planes sent in crates from the Soviet Union. The BN variant — which is shown in the video — is a ground strike version developed later.