BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Western-backed rebel group in Syria and a monitor of the conflict there said rebels fired anti-aircraft machine guns at a Syrian military jet on Tuesday, damaging the plane, about 80 km (50 miles) east of Damascus.
Western-backed rebels had also hit another Syrian military jet last month, causing it to crash.
It was not clear if the plane hit on Tuesday had crashed, said Saad al-Haj, spokesman for Jaish Osoud al-Sharqiya rebel group. "The men targeted the plane, they saw smoke coming out of it," he said. "It withdrew backwards toward the regime's areas."
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There was no immediate comment from the Syrian military.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitoring group, said that the plane was damaged and was forced to come down in the al-Sin military air base in rural Damascus, but that it did not crash.
Ousoud al-Sharqiya is one of the main rebel groups operating in the sparsely populated, southeast Syrian desert known as the Badia, which stretches to the Iraqi and Jordanian borders.
A day earlier, Syrian troops and Iranian-backed militias launched an assault on Bedouin villages in the southeast to consolidate control of a swathe of desert stretching to the Iraqi border, Western-backed rebels said.
Tuesday's flare-up in the Badia was near the area where a U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire came into effect this week in the southwest of Syria.
(Reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi and Ellen Francis; Eiting by Raissa Kasolowsky)