Syrian armed opposition downed Russian helicopter in Idlib

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A Russian helicopter has been shot down by rebels in Syria’s northern Idlib province, Russian officials say.

Defence officials say the Mi-8 transport aircraft had five people on board. Unconfirmed reports say at least four of them are now dead.
The helicopter was returning from delivering humanitarian aid to the city of Aleppo, Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted officials as saying.

It is not clear which group brought the helicopter down.
An alliance of rebel groups, including hardline jihadist factions, is the dominant power in Idlib.

Russia has previously, though seldom, lost aircraft since it launched operations in support of the Syrian government at the end of September 2016.

In July, two Russian pilots were killed when their helicopter was shot down east of the city of Palmyra by so-called Islamic State (IS).

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