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Saturday, November 28

"Turkey and the Turkmen could not agree on what to do with the pilot."

From a Sputnik report today, it almost seems Soleimani was there in person. If that's the case he might have made history. There are no real generals anywhere, in any military today. A real general leads his troops -- from the front of course, which is where one leads from, not from a tent or room removed from the front line.

Well it doesn't actually say he led the troops -- okay, I'll let Sputnik tell the story. And note the luck the rescuers had, but there's one correction to the report, which refers to the navigator as the "pilot."  

The pilot was shot to death by the Turkmen or Turkish snipers as he parachuted from the stricken Su-24. The gunfire missed the navigator, who was also parachuting. The next part, which isn't discussed in the following report, is still a little unclear to me. But from his account to reporters after he was returned to a base, it seems the navigator's chute drifted him into a heavily wooded area at some distance from the snipers, and so he was able to hide. Although it could be that he was captured. Anyhow, what is clear is that he was able to activate his radio beacon. That's when the adventure began....

Iranian General Soleimani Supervised Operation to Save Russian Su-24 Pilot
The pilot of the downed Russian Su-24 bomber was saved in a joint rescue operation supervised by the commander of Iran's elite Quds Force of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, Major General Qasem Soleimani.

Iranian journalist and political analyst Emad Abshenas talked to a friend of his, a Syrian officer, who is currently in Latakia, and has all the details on the ground team that extracted Konstantin Murahtin.

Soleimani, according to the [officer], assembled a rescue team made up of 18 Syrian special operation forces and six Hezbollah fighters with firsthand knowledge of the terrain. They were tasked with saving the pilot, while Russian forces provided air and intelligence support.

As soon as they reached the front line, Russian aircraft launched airstrikes against rebels forcing them to flee. The team could then advance further into enemy territory.

The joint team was receiving extremely detailed intelligence information on everything surrounding them, even the movement of ants located hundreds of meters away, Emad Abshenas noted, citing the Syrian officer. In addition to saving Konstantin Murahtin, they also eliminated all terrorists in the area.

The timing of the operation was perfect but luck played a certain part in its success.

The Syrian officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that Turkey and the Turkmen could not agree on what to do with the pilot. The former wanted to take him as prisoner and later use him as a bargaining chip in talks with Russia. The rebels insisted that he should be treated like the Jordanian pilot captured by ISIL in late 2014 and burned to death several days later.

This bickering gave the team enough time to save the Russian pilot.

All 24 fighters who took part in the operation safely reached the base.

The Kremlin, according to the analyst, received all the latest updates on the rescue operation as the events unfolded. Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to have been closely following the action via satellite transmission.

On Tuesday, a Turkish F-16 shot down the Su-24, claiming that the aircraft had violated its airspace. Russian officials and the Su-24 pilot, who survived the crash, insist that the plane did not cross into Turkey. The crew, according to the pilot, did not receive any warning prior to the attack.

The Su-24 downing as well as the missile attack on Russian journalists in Latakia appear to confirm what many have assumed -- moderate opposition groups are simply nonexistent in Syria, Emad Abshenas noted.



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