Syrian L-39 Shot Down By Turkish Air Force F-16 Over Syria

File photo of a Syrian Arab Air Force L-39 firing rockets. In the box what is believed to be the contrail of the AIM-120 missile shot at the Syrian jet (Image credit: Ammar El Aswad)

Third kill over Idlib by the Turkish Air Force in three days.

Both the Turkish Ministry of Defense and the Syrian News Agency SANA have confirmed that a Syrian L-39 Albatros was shot down in the Idlib region, around 12.03LT on Mar. 3, 2020. The downing of the advanced jet trainer (that the Syrian Arab Air Force has often been using in combat with an under fuselage gun pod and external stores since 2012, when the first images of SyAAF L-39s attacking rebel positions started appearing online), comes just two days after two regime Su-24 Fencers were shot down by Turkish Vipers (as F-16s are nicknamed in the fighter pilot community) in the very same area as part of Ankara’s cross-border military operation dubbed “Spring Shield”.

According to the reports circulating on Telegram channels and Twitter, the L-39 was shot down by F-16s flying inside the Turkish airspace at a distance of about 45 km. Turkish F-16s are known to carry AIM-120C-5/C-7 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) missiles, with all-weather, BVR (Beyond Visual Range) capability and maximum range (on datasheet – this can vary a lot) in excess of 100 km. The Turkish fighters on CAP (Combat Air Patrol) over the border were most probably supported by a B737 AEW&C “Peace Eagle” aircraft, whose presence has often been reported in the region north of the Syrian border.

An infographic showing the shoot-down of a Syrian L-39 on Mar. 3, 2020. (Image credit: @ClashReport).

We will update this story if and when more details emerge.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.