Horrifying videos are emerging that depict two Russian pilots of a downed plane
being shot at by Syrian rebels as the airmen dangled from their parachutes — as well as one of the pilots after he hit the ground.
In a sickening video posted by CNN
, correspondent Nick Paton Walsh reports it's difficult to know which rebel group is doing the shooting because of so "many different groups in the area" with varying degrees of "radicalization" along the Syrian and Turkish border.
The rapid firing of machine guns can be heard in the background of the video, as well as screams of "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great."
CNN's Walsh speculated the pilots may have hit the ground dead.
On Tuesday, Turkey said the Russian-made SU-24 was shot down after repeated warnings over air space violations, but Moscow said it could prove the jet had not left Syrian air space.
In another graphic video, the body of one pilot is seen on the ground as a group of men gather around him, Reuters reports.
"A Russian pilot," a voice is heard saying in the video sent to the news agency, as men gather around the pilot on the ground. "God is great," is also heard.
The rebel group that sent the video operates in the northwestern area of Syria, where groups including the Free Syrian Army are active but Islamic State, which has beheaded captives in the past, has no known presence.
A deputy commander of a Turkmen brigade told reporters on a trip organized by Turkish authorities that his forces had shot dead both pilots as they descended.
U.S. and Turkish officials said they could not confirm the pilots' status.
"Both of the pilots were retrieved dead. Our comrades opened fire into the air and they died in the air," Alpaslan Celik tells Reuters near the Syrian village of Yamadi, close to where the plane came down, holding what he said was a piece of a pilot's parachute.
But there was conflicting reports on the pilots' status, with one unnamed Turkish government official telling Agence France-Press both are thought to be alive — and that Turkish authorities were trying to recover them.
"Turkey has information that the two pilots are alive and right now Turkey is trying to recover them," the official tells AFP.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the warplane crashed in a mountainous area in the northern countryside of Latakia province, where there had been aerial bombardment earlier and where pro-government forces have been battling insurgents on the ground.
The website Vocativ
reports social media accounts affiliated with Syrian rebels are the ones circulating videos and images of the dead pilot, who is pictured wearing a Russian military vest and parachute gear.
The man is surrounded by people speaking in Syrian dialects, and celebrating, Vocativ also reported.
"The Tenth Brigade captured the Russian pilot, Allahu Akbar," one man yells in a video clip of the disturbing display.
Vocativ reports the official Facebook account of the Tenth Brigade, a Syrian rebel group, also uploaded an image it says shows the pilot's body, claiming his killing came in the countryside of Latakia, which is a port city — and that rebels were still searching for the second pilot.
Vocativ notes the images and videos hadn't been independently verified.
Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.