ISIS downs jet near Palmyra, 2 Russia pilots killed

In this Saturday, June 18, 2016 file photo, Russian fighter jets and bombers are parked at Hemeimeem air base in Syria. (AP)

Two Russian pilots died near the Syrian city of Palmyra when their helicopter was shot down by ISIS fighters, bringing the total number of Russian troops killed in the Syrian conflict to 12, Moscow said.

The defence ministry said a Syrian helicopter flown by Riafagat Khabibulin and Yevgeni Dolgin “came under fire” from ISIS on Saturday and crashed.

The militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to SITE monitoring group.

The pilots “had used up all their ammunition and were on their way back when they came under the fire of terrorists and crashed,” the defence ministry said, adding: “The crew died.”

SITE quoted an ISIS statement as saying: “Soldiers of the Caliphate downed a Russian assault helicopter when it attempted to attack their positions. This resulted in its destruction and killed those who were on board.”

Meanwhile, the Syrian military said it extended a 72-hour nationwide ceasefire that expired on Friday for another 72 hours, state media reported on Saturday.

The previous truce ran up to midnight on July 8.

The news came after Syrian government and allied forces took control of a rebel-held town east of Damascus on Saturday after a 12-day battle, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, compromising a supply route into opposition territory.

(With AFP, Reuters)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47