The Free Syrian Army, whom Russian aircraft have been targeting in northern Syria to support the Assad regime, says it has shot down a Russian rescue helicopter while it was searching for the Russian pilots who parachuted from their SU-24 after being hit with a Turkish air to air missile. USA officials said last month four missiles launched from Russian warships in the Caspian Sea had crashed in Iran, but Moscow insisted they had reached their targets in Syria. The Russian Defense Ministry has suspended military contact with Turkey over the plane downing, which President Vladimir Putin called “a stab in the back”.
Three reporters were injured when the shell struck the auto on Monday in the village of Dagmashlia near the border with Turkey.
The Russian defence ministry said last week that it was “hunting” oil transporters in a bid to cut IS financing and claimed that in the past five days some 1,000 fuel trucks had been destroyed.
TASS correspondent Alexander Yelistratov and RT’s Sargon Khadaya both suffered shrapnel injuries, while Roman Kosarev, also from RT, suffered a concussion.
Kosarev told Radio Sputnik that the attack was deliberate. The Erbil airport spokesman said a change in the missiles’ route brought them “uncomfortably close” to the airport, without providing more details.
Pro-Kremlin journalists are embedded with the Russian deployment carrying out the bombing campaign in Syria from the Hmeimim base in territory controlled by the Damascus government.