Russian helicopter downed
Russian helicopter downedThe Interpreter/Twitter

The two pilots who ejected from a Russian war plane downed by Turkey on the Syrian border are believed to be alive and Turkish authorities are seeking to recover them, a government official said on Tuesday.

"Turkey has information that the two pilots are alive and right now Turkey is trying to recover them," the official said.

Earier reports said at least one of the pilots could have died after parachuting down inside Syria.

In Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov just said "there is no official information" about the fate of the pilots from the downed plane, AFP reported.

But hurriyetdailynews.com claimed the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) is in contact with the rebel groups to hand over the pilots alive to Turkey.

Earlier reports said Turkmen rebels' claimed they shot dead the Russian pilots after they auto-ejected from their jet with parachutes.

Speaking to the Doğan News Agency, Turkmen Deputy Commander to the 2nd Coast Division Alpaslan Çelik had claimed that both pilots were killed.

"We shot the pilots while they were landing with parachutes. Their bodies are here," Çelik said.

In a separate incident, sources told AFP in Beirut that a Russian helicopter in the same area in Syria was destroyed by rebels on the ground after being forced to make an emergency landing following damage from rebel fire.

A Syrian military source told AFP that a unit of Syrian regime special forces saved the dozen-strong Russian commando team and brought them back to the regime stronghold of Latakia.