Aug 01

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Russian Military Helicopter Shot Down Over Syria; All Five On Board Killed:

Nine months after a Russian Su-24 fighter jet was downed over Syria by Turkey for allegedly violating the country’s airspace, a Russian Mi-8 helicopter has been shot down by ground fire in Syria following delivery of humanitarian supplies to Aleppo, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. Three crew and two officers from Russia’s Reconciliation Center died, according to a Kremlin statement.

“On August 1, an Mi-8 transport helicopter has been shot down by ground fire in Idlib province after a delivery of humanitarian aid to the city of Aleppo. Three crew members and two officers from the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria were on board,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed in a statement later in the day that all those on board are dead.

“Those on board the helicopter were killed, as we learned from the Defense Ministry’s report. They died heroically as [the crew] tried to divert the helicopter to minimize casualties on the ground,” Peskov said, adding the Mi-8 had been on a humanitarian mission.  “The Kremlin conveys its deep condolences to the families of those killed in action,” he added.

The helicopter was returning to the Russian air base at Khmeimim, the statement added. The ministry has not yet revealed identities of those on board.

The attack took place one day after Al Nusra launched an offensive campaign to break through the Syrian government siege, assisted by Russians, of the rebel-held city of Aleppo.

Warning: graphic footage of what appear to be the dead pilots. Viewer discretion advised

It is the third Russian helicopter lost in action in Syria this year. In July, an Mi-25 attack chopper was shot down near Palmyra, killing two Russian pilots. The aircraft had been engaging the advancing Islamic State militants at the Syrian Army’s request when it was taken down, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. In April, an Mi-28N attack helicopter crashed while performing a flight near the city of Homs, with the Defense Ministry stressing it was not shot down. The crash left both pilots dead, with technical failure cited by Moscow as the likely cause of the accident.

Last October, another Mi-8 helicopter was badly damaged and then destroyed by IS fighters after an emergency landing in the middle of search and rescue operation to extract a surviving co-pilot of a Su-24M bomber jet shot which was down by a Turkish Air Force F-16.

Developing story.

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