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Monday, August 01, 2016 4:59 am

Videos show flaming wreckage of Russian chopper

Associated Press

BEIRUT – The Latest on the developments in the war in Syria (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Videos uploaded online by Syrian opposition activists show the burning wreckage of a Russian helicopter downed in Syria.

The footage was seemingly taken in the first few moments after the helicopter crashed in Idlib province on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says all five aboard the helicopter have been killed. The Defense Ministry says that the Mi-8 helicopter was returning to the Russian air base on the coast after delivering humanitarian goods to the city of Aleppo.

In one video, a rocket pod can be seen next to the wreckage. People standing nearby are seen taking cellphone photos and shouting "Allahu Akbar," or God is great in Arabic.

The helicopter appears to have broken up as it crashed. In another video, its tail can be seen lying separately from the aircraft's body in flames.

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1:55 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says all five aboard the Russian helicopter downed in Syria have been killed.

Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Monday that "from what we know from information provided by the Defense Ministry, all those who were on the helicopter died."

He says the Russians "died heroically because they tried to move the aircraft away so to minimize losses on the ground."

Earlier, the ministry said the helicopter had been shot down but that the fate of the five — three crew members and two officers — was unknown.

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1:10 p.m.

The Russian Defense Ministry says a transport helicopter has been shot down in Syria, but the fate of the five people onboard is still unknown.

The ministry says in a statement that the Mi-8 helicopter was shot down on Monday in Idlib province while returning to the Russian air base on the coast after delivering humanitarian goods to the city of Aleppo.

The helicopter had three crew members and two officers from the Russian reconciliation center.

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11:50 a.m.

A Syrian military official says government forces have repelled an attack by insurgents that was an attempt to break the siege imposed on rebel-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo.

And in nearby Idlib province, a helicopter gunship was shot down. That was reported by opposition activists.

Two activist groups — the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees — say rebels shot down the helicopter over Idlib. It wasn't clear if the helicopter was Russian or Syrian.

Monday's developments come a day after Syrian rebels launched the offensive to break up the government's siege of eastern, rebel-held part of Aleppo.

Opposition activists say intense fighting still ongoing in Aleppo. The military official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. He did not elaborate.


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