The first video shows militants firing on the Russian plane from a pickup-mounted heavy machinegun, as well as the purported moment when the Su-25 appeared to have been struck by what the Russian military has said was a shoulder-carried SAM missile. The insurgents can then be heard yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ in the background.
The second video shows an interview with Mahmoud Haj Ismail, a fighter from the Jaysh Idlib Hur militant group, for Northern Syria Observer, which positions itself as a collection of independent Syrian journalists.
In the interview, the militant claims that his group shot down the Russian plane, and not with a MANPAD, but using their Zu-23-2 anti-aircraft twin-barreled autocannon. The militant goes on to claim that this was the fifth aircraft destroyed by the group, including one helicopter, two unspecified warplanes and an Ilyushin (an aircraft brand which has not actually suffered any losses in the Syrian campaign).
The second video can be found on Directorate 4’s Telegram channel. The Russian Ministry of Defense has yet to comment on the authenticity of either clip.
Earlier, Directorate 4 released video of a group of militants rushing toward Major Roman Filipov, the pilot of the fated Su-25, as he fired at them before activating a grenade and blowing himself up to avoid being captured. In that video, Filipov can be heard yelling “This is for our guys!” before pulling the pin on a grenade, after which the militants can be seen running for cover, followed by an explosion.
On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that Filipov, who has been posthumously conferred the title of Hero of Russia, had blown himself up after being surrounded by insurgents.
On Wednesday, Krasnaya Zvezda, the official newspaper of the Russian Defense Ministry, provided new details on Filipov’s wingman’s desperate efforts to protect his commander, covering him from the ground until his own plane was close to running out of fuel.
Tahrir al-Sham, a militant group linked to the Nusra Front, the Syrian offshoot of al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s shoot down. Russian air power has responded to the attack with a precision strike on the area where the MANPAD missile was thought to be launched, eliminating over 30 militants.