Scrambling on a rescue mission for the pilots who bailed out of the Su-24 Turkey shot down earlier in the day, Russia lost a Mi-8 helicopter as well, when Syrian rebels forced it to land and destroyed it with a US-made Tow missile.
The US has been providing the Tow missiles to “moderate” rebel factions during the Syrian Civil War, nominally to attack Syrian tanks. Today’s attack was reportedly carried out by a Free Syrian Army (FSA) faction in Latakia Province.
A video purporting to show the downing of the helicopter was released not long after, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting it as one of two different helicopters involved in the unsuccessful rescue mission. Both pilots were killed by Turkmen rebels before they landed.
Initially, it was reported that all 10 people on board the helicopter managed to get away before the Tow missile hit, though later Russia confirmed that a marine who was on board the Mi-8 was killed in the attacks.
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