At least 35 Syrian troops have been killed after an army cargo plane crashed due to bad weather in the northwestern province of Idlib, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.
It added that the incident occurred after the plane hit electricity lines in heavy fog in Idlib Province on Sunday.
According to the Britain-based observatory, heavy clashes were erupted between Syrian government forces and militants of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front to reach and recover the bodies of those killed in the crash.
Al-Nusra Front claimed on Twitter that it had shot down the aircraft carrying food and ammunition.
Syrian state media rejected the claim but confirmed the crash.
“A medium-sized cargo plane crashed last night while landing at the Abu al-Duhur military airport because of bad weather conditions and heavy fog, killing the crew on board,” state news agency SANA said.
This is not the first time militants claim to have shot down Syrian military aircraft. Similar claims have been made over the past nearly four years of crisis in Syria.
The foreign-backed militants have suffered major losses during mop-up operations conducted by the Syrian army in some areas across the country over the past few months.