A Russian helicopter was shot down in the Idlib province of Syria on Monday. All five people who were on board are said to have been killed in the attack. The deceased were three crew members and two officers, according to Russia's defence ministry.
A video that emerged on social media of the helicopter after its crash showed many parts of it still burning, while others smouldered. It also showed some people who had gathered around the debris dragging away the body of one of the Russian soldiers through dirt. Another is said to have been trampled upon. The people are also seen recording videos of the incident on their mobile phones, and it is one such video that has emerged online.
The helicopter was apparently returning after delivering humanitarian aid to the people of the embattled city of Aleppo in Syria. However, the Russian claim that the chopper was on a non-military mission has been treated with scepticism, as Russia rarely uses them in non-combat roles.
Since Russia supports the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad that rules Syria, it has made enemies out of both the rebel forces that are battling to overthrow the regime, as well as the Islamic State group (Isis), which has established what it says is a Caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
However, it may be noted that Idlib is controlled by an alliance consisting of rebel groups — the ones looking to topple the Assad regime. These include hardline factions of the rebels.
Observers believe the rebels could be behind this because they say Russia often targets them as well as the civilian population of Syria when claiming to attack the Islamic State group, which is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). However, the rebels have rarely shown the kind of barbarism that was on display this time.