A Russian helicopter has been shot down by rebels in northern Syria, Russian military officials say.
Defence ministry say the Mi-8 transport aircraft had five people on board – three crew members and two officers. Unconfirmed reports say at least four of them are now dead.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the pilot had been removed from the wreckage by rebels.
The helicopter had been shot down after delivering humanitarian aid to the city of Aleppo. It came down as it made its way back to Russia’s main air base in Syria, near Latakia on the Mediterranean.
A reported photo of the explosion
The wreckage was found in the Idlib province, which has seen intense fighting between Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, and rebel groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.