Syria shot down a Russian military helicopter in the Idlib district. According to news agencies, the three crew members and the two officers on board are all dead. Russia has been hit by the worst incident ever since it decided to intervene in the country.
The Russian Defense Ministry has reported that the Russian military helicopter was shot by ground fire while it was returning to the Khmeimim Air Base after completing a mission in Aleppo.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, that opposes the government in Syria and tracks the conflict in the country from Britain, has confirmed that the Russian helicopter was shot down and has crashed in the Idlib province, near the village of Saraqib. The helicopter was on a peace mission and had delivered aid to two Shiite villages that have been captured by Sunni rebels.
The anti-government activists in Syria uploaded a video on social media before the Russian Defense Ministry could confirm the attack on the city of Aleppo. The video showed footage of two burned bodies on the sand near what looked like a military helicopter that was embroiled in flames.
The video continues with a large number of men cheering around the debris of the helicopter and the bodies of the Russian men. They looked jubilant and happy and were shown making statements praising the God in Arabic. The video showed one of the men jumping on the dead bodies as well.
According to RT, after the video went viral, other on-the-spot videos started circulating on social media which claimed that they were showing the debris of the Russian helicopter that was shot down.
There were images of parts of the fuselage and tail rotor. There hasn’t been any confirmation on the authenticity of these videos by the Russian authorities.
International Business Times reported that a Syrian group has come out to state that they are ready to exchange the five Russian bodies in return for prisoners who were held captive in Lebanese and Syrian jails. According to The New York Times, the Syrian anti-government activists also shared images online.
One of them showed the drivers licenses belonging to two of the Russians from the gunned down helicopter. From the images that were shown, it could be made out that one of them belonged to a man and the other to a woman. However, it wasn’t possible to ascertain to whom the bodies belonged.
The militants didn’t state who the prisoners were, neither did they mention how many prisoners they want to be released. The group asked for the end to cordoning areas, which facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid.
This claim has been rejected by the Syrian army and their allies. There hasn’t been any further communication with the militants in Syria.
Russian President, Vladimir V. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov has confirmed that those on board the Russian helicopter that was shot down have been killed. Dmitri S. Peskov continued to express condolences to the family of the victims. The names of the victims have not yet been revealed or confirmed.
No rebel groups in Syria have come forward to claim responsibility for shooting down the Russian military helicopter. The Russians have come out to inform that the Russian helicopter was shot down in a territory that is controlled by Nusra Front.
The news was revealed by Lt. Gen. Sergei F. Rudskoi, a senior member of the Russian general staff.