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Friday, March 16, 2018

The Mi-8 helicopter could shoot down for the sake of disrupting operations in Aleppo

The Russian contingent in Syria suffered new losses, the largest since the conflict began. In Idlib province shot down the helicopter, on Board of which were five Russian military. They all died. According to preliminary information, the car was attacked from the ground over the territory of the group “Army of conquest”. It is possible that the militants wanted to disrupt the humanitarian operation, Russia announced in Aleppo.

According to the Ministry of defense, the military transport Mi-8 helicopter was returning to base Hamim after distributing humanitarian aid in Aleppo. On Board besides three crew members, were two officers of the Russian Center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria.

“Those who were in the helicopter, as we know from the information that was received from the Ministry of defense were killed. He died heroically because he was trying to steal a car in order to minimize casualties on the ground

“Those who were in the helicopter, as we know from the information that was received from the Ministry of defense were killed. He died heroically because he was trying to steal a car in order to minimize casualties on the ground” – quoted TASS the press service of the President.

Simultaneously, in the Internet appeared the video, where you see the burning helicopter. Next rejoice and shout the militant group “Jaish al-Fath” (“Army of conquest”). One of them jumped at the mutilated corpse lying next person. The group says that it shot down the Mi-8.

According to orientalist Vladimir Sotnikov, “Army of conquest” is not a single organization but rather a coalition of various Islamist groups. “Her biggest success was in March 2015, when she took the city of Idlib in Northwest Syria,” he said in an interview with the newspaper LOOK. The largest group, a member of the “Army of conquest – the so-called “Brigade of Ahrar al-sham”. In addition, the “Jaish al-Fatah” closely linked “al-Nusra Dzhebhat”.

This group is banned in Russia, until recently, considered the Syrian branch of “al-Qaeda”. However, recently the “Dzhebhat EN-Nusra” has changed its name. Now it is called “jabhat al Fatah ash-sham (“front for the conquest of Syria”).

Such rebranding is symbolic: thus, the group breaks ties with al Qaeda and focuses on the struggle for the possession of the Syrian territory. Of course, renouncing the former methods of fighting and not talking.

Probably the attack on a Russian helicopter is not involved in banned in Russia grouping “Islamic state*”. Anyway, any information on this account. This is not to forget that the “Islamic state” not later than July 31, made threats against Russia.

On 29 July, Russian defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the beginning of humanitarian operations in Aleppo. Part of this second largest city of Syria is under the control of opponents of President Bashar al-Assad. Among them, the group “Jaish al-Fatah”, which on 1 August had attempted the offensive, capturing two strategic heights. Aleppo itself is surrounded by government forces, with air support the Russian air force. Because of the continuing fighting, hindering the supply of food in the city, there emerged a dire humanitarian situation. Human rights organizations are sounding the alarm: they fear that Aleppo would be hunger. This prompted Russia to begin a humanitarian mission.

“To assist civilians who find themselves held hostage by the terrorists and for insurgents wishing to lay down their arms, the Russian Centre for reconciliation of conflicting parties, cooperation with the Syrian authorities to open humanitarian corridor three. Deploy in the areas of these humanitarian corridors, points of hot meals and first aid” – ordered Shoigu. Started resetting humanitarian goods into the territory of Aleppo. The first such shipment was dropped off this Sunday. It is reported that the downed Mi-8 was also carrying humanitarian aid, grocery 500 sets. It is possible that the target of the militants attacking the Russian helicopter with the staff of the Centre for reconciliation of the warring parties, is disrupting the operation. However, then it must be assumed that the helicopter was “fire”.

Mi-8 has already become the third Russian helicopter lost in Syria. Both times fatal for our pilots was the town of Palmyra, near which there was fierce fighting. July 8 near Palmyra helicopter was shot down Mi-35. Both pilots, Rafagat Khabibulin and Evgeny Dolgin died. On April 12, the same crashed Mi-28N “Night hunter”. Killed two crew members – Andrew Okladnikov and Viktor Popov. In total, excluding current losses in Syria has already killed 14 Russians.

* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”

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