by WorldTribune Staff, July 10, 2016
Two pilots were killed when a Russian helicopter was shot down by Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) jihadists, the Russian military said.
The Mi-25 helicopter was shot down east of the ancient city of Palmyra on July 9.
The pilots “had received a request from the Syrian military to carry out strikes against advancing militants,” the Russian military said in a statement, according to local media.
They “had used up all their ammunition and were on their way back when they came under the fire of terrorists and crashed in an area held by Syrian government troops.”
Both pilots have been nominated for Russian state awards.
At least 12 Russian soldiers have been killed since Moscow launched its military operation in Syria in September 2015.
In November, Turkish fighter planes shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian-Turkish border, fueling tensions that damaged ties between the two countries. Turkey recently moved to re-establish ties with Russia by apologizing for the incident.