On February 15, a MiG-23UB fighter jet of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) crashed near Sha’irat Air Base in the eastern countryside of Homs.
A Syrian source with knowledge on the accident told SouthFront that the fighter jet crashed as a result of a mechanical failure. The jet was on a routine training mission.
The fighter jet’s pilot and co-pilot, Staff Colonel Saleh Al-Ali and Lieutenant-Colonel Nawras Ismail, were both killed in the accident. They were not able to eject before the crash for an unknown reason.
The MiG-23UB is a two-seat, advanced trainer version of the Soviet-made MiG-23 fighter jet, the backbone of the SyAAF.
Prior to the war, the SyAAF operated more than 140 MiG-23 fighter jets, most of the them were of the improved MLD standard or of the BN ground-attack variant. Dozens were lost or passed out of service during the war. At least 17 were shot down by enemy fire.
The SyAAF struggled to maintain its capabilities with very little resources for most of the war. Now, however, the air force is being rebuilt little by little with direct support from Russia.
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