Al Nusrah Front, allied rebels capture Syrian helicopter crew


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) is reporting that the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, and other rebel groups have captured the crew of a downed Syrian Army helicopter in the northwestern province of Idlib. The chopper crashed in the Jabal al Zawiya area of Idlib, a former stronghold of the US-backed Syrian Revolutionaries Front which is now administered by Al Nusrah.

It is not immediately clear how the chopper crashed; Syrian state media is citing technical failures while rebel forces are claiming to have downed it.

There were six crew members aboard the helicopter. Four were captured, one was executed on the spot, and the the fate of the sixth crewman is unknown. Photographs have emerged on social media sites showing the downed helicopter, as well as three of the captives. One photo also purports to show the execution of one of the crew members.

Al Nusrah did release photographs through its official channels (above). Abdullah Muhammad al Muhaysini, one of Al Nusrah’s closest allies in Syria, is also seen in a video with one of the surviving crewmen. Other photos cannot be independently verified but claim to be from the crash scene.

In early Nov. 2014, Al Nusrah and Jund al Aqsa, a jihadist group primarily made up of foreigners, pushed the SRF out of Jabal al Zawiya after clashing with the group. Jamaal Maarouf, the leader of the SRF, was forced to flee as the jihadist forces entered his main headquarters. Before these clashes, the two groups were allies on the battlefield despite US support for the SRF. (See LWJ reports Al Nusrah Front forces Western-backed rebel group to flee base in Idlib and Al Nusrah Front, Jund al Aqsa fighters photographed in Syrian Revolutionaries Front stronghold in Idlib)

Below are photos and videos reporting to be from the crash scene today in Idlib: 

Abdullah Muhammad al Muhaysini is seen in this video:











Photos showing the captured crew members:







Reportedly the identification card of the pilot:



Photo showing an Al Nusrah fighter or another rebel fighter executing one of the crew members:


Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • foxmuldar says:

    Not much difference is there from ISIS and our so called allies. All of them are savages. Maybe we should have done the same to those we have in Gitmo. Notice how few prisioners ISIS or our allies have. Maybe Obama will give them a call and say be nice guys. lol

  • Arjuna says:

    How nice. In Technicolor, no less. These must be the kinder, gentler jihadis from the Nusra Front, the ones that “follow the guidance” and murder wounded, defenseless airmen.

    This savagery, and the propaganda exploitation of the same, must end. This is the same sort of war porn analysts were forced to watch in Iraq a decade ago when the insurgents snuffed that wounded Bulgarian chopper pilot in the same fashion.

    Doesn’t tell you much except that there are lots more crazies left to kill (and disarm) if we ever want to see anything resembling peace in the Muslim world. I wonder if they’ll burn the remaining survivors to death in cages in a major motion picture like their IS compadres did to poor Mr Air Jordan. Guess we’ll have to wait until the online propaganda gets released.

  • David says:

    Whenever you see a jihadi with his finger pointing in the air, something evil is about to happen.

  • rtloder says:

    Tut tut naught boys don’t make good soldiers.


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