BEIRUT – The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
The Russian Defense Ministry says a Su-33 fighter jet, based on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, has crashed into the Mediterranean Sea after returning from a sortie over Syria.
The ministry says in a statement that was reported by Russian news agencies that "because of the failure of the arrester system's cable, the Su-33 fighter rolled off the deck" on Monday.
The pilot of the aircraft successfully ejected and was unharmed in the incident. The ministry added that Russian military operations over Syria will not be affected by the incident.
This is the second loss of an aircraft from Russia's only aircraft carrier since it arrived off Syria last month. The Defense Ministry said that a Mig-29 fighter crashed into the sea on Nov. 15 while attempting to land on the Admiral Kuznetsov.
Syrian activists say Russian and Syrian aircraft have stepped up their assaults on the rebel-held province of Idlib, a day after air raids killed more than 60 people.
The activist-run Local Coordination Committees is reporting airstrikes on the towns of Binnish, Maarat Nasaan, and Saraqib, as well as the provincial capital, Idlib.
The network says the Monday morning airstrikes killed three children. It blamed the attacks on Russian aircraft.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported strikes on Idlib city. It says 288 civilians have been killed in the province since Oct. 20, when Syrian government and Russian aircraft intensified airstrikes.
The Syrian Civil Defense first responder group said 65 civilians were killed in Sunday airstrikes across the province, including attacks on two rural marketplaces that killed dozens.