Russian helicopter shot down in Syria, five dead


A Russian helicopter has been shot down with fire from the ground in Idlib province in northern Syria.

All five persons on board died, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

According to the Russian side, the helicopter was returning from delivering humanitarian aid to the city of Aleppo.

“On August 1, a Russian transport helicopter Mi-8 was shot down with fire from the ground on the way to the Hmeymim air base after delivering humanitarian aid to the city of Aleppo. There were three crewmembers and two officers from Russia’s center for the reconciliation of warring factions in Syria on board,” Kremlin-controlled news agency TASS quotes the Defense Ministry’s report.

Russia is a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and is supporting pro-government forces with air strikes on rebels. On 30 September 2015, the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia’s parliament) granted permission to Vladimir Putin to use the country’s troops in Syria.

Government forces cut off rebel-held eastern parts of Aleppo last month. Russia and Syria announced the opening of what they called humanitarian corridors for civilians and rebels wanting to surrender, but few people are reported to have used them, fearing they would be targeted, bbc.com reports.

Belsat.eu, following BBC, TASS

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