The SU-25 came down in an area of Syria’s northern Idlib province that has seen heavy air strikes and fighting on the ground between government forces backed by Russia and Iran, and rebels who oppose President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrians opposed to Assad see Russia as an invading force they blame for the deaths of thousands of civilians since Moscow joined the war on the side of the Syrian government in 2015.
The Russian plane was shot down over the town of Khan al-Subl near the city of Saraqeb, close to a major highway where the Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias are trying to advance, a rebel source said.
Although the Russian pilot escaped the crash, he was killed by rebels who had tried to capture him, the source said.
Tharir al-Sham, a jihadist group spearheaded by the former Syrian branch of al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for shooting down the plane, saying one of its fighters had scored a direct hit with a shoulder launched anti-aircraft missile.