Russian helicopter shot down — Two Russian helicopter pilots were killed Friday near Palmyra in central Syria, when a Syrian helicopter in which they were flying was shot down by ISIS, said Saturday the Russian Defense Ministry.
The deaths bring to 12 the official number of Russian soldiers who died in the conflict since Russia has begun bombing in September to support its ally Bashar Assad.
On June 8, the instructor pilots Riafagat Khabibouline and Yevgeny Dolguine were on a mission on an armed Syrian Mi-25. Meanwhile, east of Palmyra, the fighters of the Islamic State organization launched an offensive, said the Defense Ministry in a statement, quoted by Russian news agencies.
After exhausting its ammunition and on the way back, the helicopter came under fire from the terrorists and crashed into the territory controlled by Syria. The crew is dead, the statement said.
Mid-June, the Ministry of Defence had already announced the death of two Russian soldiers within days. One was killed by the explosion of a car bomb as he was protecting a convoy in Homs and another was wounded near Aleppo and died in a hospital military Moscow.
After months of air strikes, Putin announced in March the withdrawal of most of its military contingent from Syria but the Russian military continues to carry out strikes against terrorist targets in support of the forces of Bashar al-Assad .
Launched in March 2011 by the repression of demonstrations calling for reforms, the revolt against the regime has turned into a devastating war that left over 280,000 dead and led to the flight of millions of people.