Published: Wed, August 03, 2016
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Russian helicopter shot down in Syria, killing all 5 onboard

Russian helicopter shot down in Syria, killing all 5 onboard

A picture taken on August 1, 2016 reportedly shows Syrian rebels gathering around the wreckage of a Russian Mi-8 military transport helicopter after it was shot down along the administrative border between Idlib province, northwestern Syriaand neighbouring Aleppo.

The government wants to consolidate its hold on the region, with the president, Bashar al Assad, offering amnesty for any rebel fighters who surrender, in the next three months. Idlib is held nearly entirely by a powerful coalition of Islamist and extremist forces including Jabhat Fateh Al Sham, which was formerly known as Jabhat Al Nusra before the group renounced its status as Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate.

In one video, a rocket pod can be seen next to the wreckage.

The group is part of a coalition of insurgent groups called Jaish al-Fateh, or Army of Conquest, which has captured most of Idlib.

Worldwide human rights groups have repeatedly accused Russian Federation of using cluster munitions against civilians and rebels since it began its aerial campaign in Syria past year to shore up Assad's forces. People standing nearby are seen taking cellphone photos and shouting "Allahu Akbar", or God is great in Arabic.

Two activist groups - the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees - say rebels shot down the helicopter over Idlib. In another video, its tail can be seen lying separately from the aircraft's body in flames.

It brought the total number of members of the Russian forces killed in Syria to 18.

An Mi-28N helicopter gunship crashed near Homs in April, killing both crew members, but the Russian military said there was no evidence it came under fire.

United Nations deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters that United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura doesn't want just want talks but "negotiations that can accomplish something".

"The jihadists responded with mass terror to the large-scale Russian-Syrian humanitarian operation in Aleppo", Borodavkin said, adding that the situation in the city was "alarming" and "dramatic".

An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 people remain trapped in the rebel-held part of eastern Aleppo.

Haq said the United Nations delivered food and health items to 71,000 people in the hard-to-reach town of Houla in Homs governorate on Sunday. The military official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

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