Russian helicopter crash-lands in northern Syria, casualties

BEIRUT (AP) — A Russian military helicopter made an emergency landing for technical reasons in northeast Syria on Sunday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. Syria’s state media said there were casualties among the crew.

Russia joined Syria’s war in September 2015 and has since helped tip the balance of power in favor of President Bashar Assad’s forces. Russian troops are deployed in different parts of Syria, including the northeast.

Syria’s state news agency SANA said the incident happened near the village of Tel Tamr in northeastern Hassakeh province. One crew member was killed and others were wounded, the report said, without further details.

The Russian Defense Ministry said a Russian Mi-35 helicopter made an emergency landing for technical reasons while patrolling Hassakeh province.

“According to the crew’s report, there was no firing impact on the helicopter,” the ministry statement said. It added the helicopter’s crew was evacuated.

“The crew of the Mi-35 helicopter was promptly delivered to the airfield by the search and rescue service. There was no threat to the fliers’ lives,” the ministry said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the helicopter crash-landed near a Russian military post and said the reason for the crash wasn’t clear. It said several people on board were wounded, including one critically.

The Russian military has positions in different parts of Syria, including Tel Tamr, where their posts separate Turkey-backed opposition gunmen and U.S.-backed Kurdish-led fighters.

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