A Russian helicopter crashed in Syria on New Year’s Eve killing both pilots following a technical fault, Moscow’s defense ministry said Wednesday.
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 (nine miles) from the air base,” the ministry said, adding that a technician had been injured and taken to another air base at for emergency treatment.
The investigative blog Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) 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 and the defense ministry did not give any further details.
Russia launched an air campaign in Syria in September 2015, under the request of Damascus, in a bid to held the Syrian government fight Takfiri terrorists.
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, including three battalions and two bases.