Russian Mi-28 Gunship Goes Down in Homs
Two crew killed
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.