Two Russian helicopter pilots killed by ′Islamic State′ in Syria | News | DW | 09.07.2016
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Two Russian helicopter pilots killed by 'Islamic State' in Syria

A helicopter called in by Syrian's government were shot down by "Islamic State." The aircraft ran out of ammunition while flying near Palmyra.

Two Russian pilots were killed in Syria on Saturday when their helicopter was shot down by "Islamic State," the Kremlin reported. The men had been part of an attack on an IS target in Syria's central Homs province.

According to a statement from the Russian news agency Interfax, the airmen had run out of ammunition, leaving them vulnerable to enemy attack.

"The turning helicopter was hit by militants' gunfire from the ground and crashed in the area controlled by the Syrian government army," Interfax reported. "The crew died."

Russia's Defense Ministry reported that the pilots had been running a test flight with a Syrian Mi-25 helicopter near Palmyra when Syrian officers called for help in a clash with IS fighters.

Footage posted online by IS also confirmed the deaths. The video shows the aircraft being shot and spiraling to the ground while shouts of "it has fallen, God is the greatest" can be heard in the background.

The Russia-Syria military alliance has struggled to root out IS from the center of the country since reclaiming the ancient city of Palmyra in March. IS has repeatedly pushed back and announced its intentions to once again wrest the city from government control.

es/bk (AP, Reuters)