Syrian opposition forces on Thursday (August 30th) claimed they shot down a government fighter jet, amid continuing violence in the country, AFP reported.
"I can confirm that a MiG was shot down this morning by our men using automatic weapons, shortly after taking off from Abu Zohur military airport in Idlib province," Col. Afeef Mahmoud Suleiman, who heads the Free Syrian Army in Idlib, told AFP.
Suleiman said the two pilots who parachuted from the plane were captured and that opposition forces are now in "full control" of the airport.
Earlier in the day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said opposition forces took over parts of the airport, which they say has been used to bomb local areas.
According to the Observatory, after the alleged downing of the plane, regime forces retaliated by shelling the area, killing eight children, nine women and at least three other people.
Other violence in the country on Thursday included fierce fighting in areas of the cities of Deir Ezzor, Aleppo and Damascus, the group said.
The violence came as the foreign ministers of UN Security Council member countries prepared to meet in France to discuss the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, UN humanitarian spokesperson Clare Doyle said the UN's fund for aid efforts in Syria has raised only half the $180 million it originally appealed for.
"Funding is urgently needed," she said.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimated in June that three million Syrians are "food insecure". Production of medicines and drugs has come to a standstill, the wheat harvest is estimated to be 1.4 million tonnes below target and aid agencies say there are now water shortages.
The United Nations is also calling for another $193 million to support its drive to help refugees outside Syria. Donations of $103.8 million have been received so far, Doyle said.