A RUSSIAN Sukhoi-25 fighter jet has been shot down in a rebel-held area in Syria's north-western province of Idlib.

The Russian defence ministry said the pilot had ejected but was killed in a ground fight.

Video posted on social media appears to show the plane being hit, while other video shows burning wreckage on the ground, with a red star on a wing.

Russia has acted alongside its Syrian allies targeting rebels in the area. Syrian Government troops launched a major offensive around Idlib in late December, backed by Russian jets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said there had been dozens of Russian air strikes in the area over the past 24 hours.

Russia's defence ministry said the pilot had survived the crash but was killed by "terrorists" on the ground. It said it was making all possible efforts to retrieve the body.

About 45 Russian military personnel have been confirmed dead in Syria, along with an unknown number of contractors.