MOSCOW // Two military pilots were killed when their helicopter crashed near Homs, central Syria, the Russian defence ministry said on Tuesday, adding that the aircraft had not been under fire.
“Two crew members died,” the ministry said in a statement.
The crash of the Mi-28 attack helicopter happened in the early hours of Tuesday, the ministry said, adding the bodies had been recovered and brought to Russia’s Hmeimim airbase.
“According to a report from the crash site, the helicopter was not fired at,” the defence ministry added, saying experts were looking into the reasons of the accident.
The crash takes Russia’s official combat death toll in Syria to seven.
Moscow said that five Russian servicemen were killed while on combat duty in Syria, including the pilot of a fighter jet shot down by Turkey and a special operations officer who called an air strike on himself after being surrounded by ISIL near Palmyra.
Another serviceman committed suicide while on duty in Syria, the defence ministry said.
The helicopter crash came less than a month after Russian president Vladimir Putin surprised the West by ordering the bulk of his forces to pull out of Syria after a five-and-half-month bombing campaign.
* Agence France-Presse