Russian helicopter crashes in Syria, 2 pilots die

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

Almost 30 civilians, including children, have been killed by airstrikes in the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, outside the capital, Damascus.

We review the key developments in Syria, including the Syrian government preparing for a counteroffensive in Eastern Ghouta, airstrikes in Idlib killing seven people, and shells from Syria landing in southern Turkey.

According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor based in the United Kingdom, a further 10 people were killed in other towns situated close to rebel strongholds in the capital Damascus.

More than 600 people are in need of urgent medical care, according to SAMS.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Eastern Ghouta is the last rebel enclave around the Syrian capital.

Russia denied a report in daily newspaper Kommersant that seven Russian planes had been destroyed by rebel shelling at Syria's Hmeymim air base on December 31, the TASS news agency on Thursday quoted the defence ministry as saying.

Russian Mi-24 helicopter crashed in Syria due to a technical malfunction, according to the defense Ministry.

"A report by [Russian daily] Kommersant about the alleged "de facto destruction" of seven Russian military aircraft at Hemeimeem [is] fake".

With four fatalities this is one of the deadliest single days for the Russian army in Syria since it entered the conflict and brings the total number of officially reported losses to 44.

Security around the Hmeimim base was being stepped up after the mortar attack, the defence ministry said.

Moscow acknowledged in recent months that its special forces are also active on the ground in the offensive against the Islamic State group.

"After dark on December 31, 2017, the Khmeimim Air Base was suddenly attacked by a mobile subversive group of militants, who used mortars".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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