During the night of June 26 and 27, 2016, insurgents from the Jaysh Al Islam — a Saudi-supported Islamist group — claimed to have shot down, over Al Bahariyah on the eastern side of Eastern Ghouta, a helicopter operated by the Syrian Arab Air Force.
It was the first in a rapid-fire — and mysterious — series of aircraft crashes and shoot-downs.
The same day, a MiG-23BN from As Seen air base, known in the West as “Tsaykal,” reportedly crashed in eastern Qalamoun region. Its pilot, Col. Nader Ramadan, died.
Slightly more than a week later on July 2, a SyAAF Su-22M-3 that had taken off from Dmeyr air base reportedly crashed near Jayrud, a village around five kilometers south of the insurgent-held town of An Nassiriyah in southern Qalamoun range.
The pilot, Maj. Nawras Hassan, ejected safely but was captured by local insurgents. A combatant from Jabhat An Nusra executed him shortly thereafter.