Russia seeks Turkey's help to collect plane wreckage

Russia seeks Turkey's help to collect plane wreckage

Russia especially wants to examine the damage to jet to determine where the weapon came from, says Foreign Ministry

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) - Russia has asked for Turkey's help in retrieving the fragments of a Russian fighter jet downed in Syria on Saturday, Russia said Tuesday.

"The Russian Defense Ministry sent a request to the Turkish side to assist in getting all the fragments of the Russian Su-25 shot down on Feb. 3 from man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) in the airspace of the Syrian province Idlib,” said a ministry statement.

Russia especially wants to examine the MANPADS’ damage to determine where the weapon came from, said the statement.

On Saturday, the plane’s Russian pilot lost his life when his Su-25 was shot down over the Idlib de-escalation zone, in northern Syria near the Turkish border.

Over the last week -- including before the downing of the jet -- dozens of civilians have lost their lives in the Idlib de-escalation zone, and hospitals, mosques, residential areas, and refugee camps have been targeted in airstrikes by Russian jets and Assad forces.

In the de-escalation zones -- endorsed by Turkey, Russia and Iran -- acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Controlled by anti-regime armed groups, Idlib has been under intense airstrikes for the last two months.

In January alone, 211 civilians were killed and 1,447 wounded.

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since March 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

While UN officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, Syrian regime officials say the death toll is closer to 10,000.

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