The Russian army suffered its deadliest blow in northern Syria on Monday since the beginning of its involvement in the civil war after a transport helicopter was shot down by rebel forces, killing all five crew members on board.
The helicopter was on its way back to the Russian Hemeimeem air base in the Latakia port city after completing a humanitarian mission.
Rebel forces uploaded pictures of the incinerated helicopter and the remains of the bodies of the crew. Photos were also uploaded showing the identity documents of the crew.
The Russian defense ministry has said that the helicopter was shot down, in all likelihood, by an anti-aircraft weapon from the ground.
This is not the first time that a Russian flight has been shot down. Al-Jazeera news network reported that with the shooting down of the helicopter, the total number of Russians killed had now reached 19 since the Russians entered the Syrian carnage. This was the fifth incident in which a Russian flight has been decimated in the war-torn state.
The area in which the helicopter was brought down was controlled by ISIS terrorists, but according to the Sergei Rudskoy of the Russian Defense Ministry, the terror organization Al-Nusra Front, also known as Al Qaeda in Syria, fired the missile that killed its chopper and its occupants.
On Sunday, ISIS uploaded a video calling for Jihad to be waged against Russia. On the Youtube video, which continues for nine minutes, a masked man in seen waving his finger and shouting: “Listen Putin. We will get to Russia and will kill you in your homes. Brothers, wage Jihad, kill them and fight them.”
Moreover, excerpts of recordings from the desert were uploaded showing armed activists attacking armored vehicles and tents and collecting weapons. It is not yet possible to verify the origins or authenticity of the clip. However, it was published on a “telegram” account used by the terror organization.
This is a lightly edited article was originally published by YNet News at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4835984,00.html. Photos have been added by the Jerusalem Journal