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”.
Başarıyla devam eden Bahar Kalkanı Harekatı kapsamında Rejime ait bir L-39 tipi savaş uçağı düşürülmüştür.
— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) March 3, 2020
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.
We will update this story if and when more details emerge.