Rebels on Sunday downed a Syrian air force Mig-23 warplane that had just bombed positions in Mayadin, a city in the eastern province of Deir ez-Zor, provincial Free Syrian Army spokesman Abu Leila told Efe.

The fighter-bomber was intercepted by rebel forces as it was returning to base after having bombed the Al Konsurwa zone and a mosque in that city, Abu Leila said.

The warplane was destroyed, but the spokesman did not say whether the pilot had been captured, as the Syrian Human Rights Observatory had claimed in a communique.

The Observatory, citing residents and activists in Mayadin, said that rebel artillery located on the outskirts of the city shot down the plane.

Before the announcement of the shootdown, which has not been confirmed by the government, Syrian rebels reported that they had taken control of an oil field and a military base in Al Ward, in the same province.

In a communique to which Efe received access, the Free Syrian Army said that "the Yafar al-Tayar Brigades, belonging to the Revolutionary Council, today were able to take a military barracks with 40 'shabiha' (militants of the governing Bashar Assad regime), which they had surrounded for several days" east of Mayadin.

According to the same announcement, most of the Syrian regime soldiers were killed in the attack, which the rebels carried out with two tanks, as well as with light and heavy weaponry. EFE