Russian pilots die in chopper crash

World | 4 Jan 2018

A Russian helicopter crashed in Syria on New Year's Eve killing both pilots following a technical fault, Moscow's defense ministry said yesterday.

The Mi-24 military helicopter was flying to Hama, northwestern Syria, and there was no firing from the ground, agencies quote the ministry as saying.

"Both pilots died in a hard landing 15 km from the air base," the ministry said, adding that a technician had been injured and taken to another air base for emergency treatment.

The investigative blog Conflict Intelligence Team quoted a post from Forumavia aviation forum, saying the helicopter had tripped over power line wires and crashed while escorting a convoy.

The post did not specify whether the helicopter was escorting a humanitarian convoy or combat unit.

Russia became involved in the multi-front conflict in September 2015, when it began an aerial campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad's military.

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu last month said the military had completed the partial withdrawal from Syria ordered by President Vladimir Putin, but Russia will maintain a presence in the country.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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