Russian Mi-28 Gunship Goes Down in Homs

Two crew killed

by DAVID AXE

An Mi-28. Youtube capture

A Russian Mi-28 attack helicopter crashed in Syria on April 12. The two crew died.

The gunship is the third aircraft the Russian military has lost in its six-month-old intervention in Syria on behalf of the regime of Pres. Bashar Al Assad.

The Mi-28 was not shot down, multiple media outlets reported, citing the Russian defense ministry.

Homs, a city in western Syria, is a major battleground pitting regime forces against Islamic State militants and more-moderate rebel groups. Russian air cover has helped the Syrian army to chip away at opposition positions around the city.

Mi-28s have flown close air support for regime forces and were instrumental in the regime’s recent liberation of the ancient city of Palmyra. Russian Mi-35 and Ka-52 gunships are also active in Syria. Russia withdrew many of its fixed-wing warplanes from Syria in a surprise move in mid-March.

Besides the Mi-28, Russia has also lost a single Mi-8 transport copter and an Su-24 bomber in and around Syria since Moscow’s forces intervened in October.

Turkish jets shot down the Su-24 in November after the Russian plane reportedly strayed into Turkish air space. Both crew ejected. One died when rebels on the ground opened fire.

A rescue force including Russian and Syrian troops flew in a pair of Mi-8 helicopters to attempt a rescue and quickly came under fire. One Mi-8 was destroyed on the ground and a Russian infantryman died. A later operation apparently involving Iranian and Syrian special forces succeeded in rescuing the surviving pilot.

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