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Russian Helicopter Shot Down In Syria, Killing All Five On Board

Russia said the helicopter was returning from a mission delivering humanitarian aid.

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Five Russians were killed on Monday after a military helicopter was shot down by rebels in northern Syria, according to Russian media reports.

Russian state news agency Interfax reported that an MI-8 helicopter was downed in the rebel-held Idlib province as it was returning to the Hmeimim base, south-east of the city of Latakia. Russia's Defense Ministry said the helicopter had been delivering humanitarian aid to Aleppo.

The Kremlin later said all five people — two officers and three crew members — on board the helicopter had died, the Associated Press reported.

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This video purported to be of the downed helicopter was posted on YouTube by Syrian activist news agency Thiqa.

View this video on YouTube

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Some observers have questioned whether the helicopter was actually delivering aid, after images of the wreckage showed rocket pods on the aircraft.

Note the empty rocket pods in the background of the helicopter Russia claims had just delivered "aid" to Aleppo

Better view of the rockets pods on Russia's "humanitarian aid" helicopter, shot down near Aleppo https://t.co/Jvv5fVDoUa

Russia says helicopter downed in Syria was delivering "humanitarian aid". Apparent rocket pods in footge of wreckage

Last year, a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkey near its border with Syria, killing its pilot. Another Russian was killed when Syrian rebels shot at a rescue helicopter.

Alicia Melville-Smith is a homepage editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alicia Melville-Smith at alicia.melville-smith@buzzfeed.com.

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