Syrian Rebels Destroy Russian Helicopter With US Anti-Tank Missile

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Syrian rebels

A Russian search and rescue helicopter was shot down by Syrian rebels while searching for pilots who were missing after Turkey downed a Russian jet.

The helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in a government-held area in Syria’s Latakia province.

The Syrian insurgent group said its fighters hit the helicopter using a US TOW anti-tank missile.

The Telegraph reports: In what appears to be a separate incident, another Syrian rebel group – the Free Syrian Army’s First Coastal Division – says it has destroyed a Russia helicopter on Turkmen Mountain, using a TOW anti-tank missile, writes Louisa Loveluck, Middle East Correspondent.

 Pro-regime media outlets appear to have confirmed the report, suggesting that a Russian helicopter has been forced to make an emergency landing in government-controlled Latakia.

 It was previously reported that Russian helicopters were trying to access the location where the first fighter bomber had crashed.

 If the strike is confirmed, the TOW missile was most likely supplied through the same US and Turkey-backed logistics programme that has reportedly been supplying Alwiya al-Ashar.

 The rebels’ usage of these American-made TOW missiles has increased over 800 per cent since Russia began air strikes against them at the end of September, slowing regime offensives across the country by destroying dozens of tanks and other armoured vehicles.

The FSA have released what they allege to be footage of the TOW attack:

It is yet unclear if the helicopter was being operated by Syrian or Russian forces. But the rebels can be heard in the video saying they have hit a Syrian chopper.

Just hours after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter jet near the border with Syria, the FSA released footage showing fighters celebrating over the body of a dead Russian pilot.

The group have since claimed to have shot dead both pilots after they ejected from the plane and attempted to parachute to the ground.

Niamh Harris
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