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 country's Iraqi 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 before the plane crashed.
Until now, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's attacks on armed insurgents and civilian population have been conducted by ground forces and helicopters. Apparently, the Syrian Arab Air Force may have started using airplanes like the MiG-23 under the pressure of rebel attacks.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 Flogger is a third-generation Russian fighter with variable wings built in the 1970s. The first MiG-23s reached Syria during the Yom Kippur 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 below and in the video—is a ground strike version developed later. These planes were used along other MiG-23s during Syrian-Israel air combats over the Lebanon, between 1981 and 1985.
Site of the jet crash