Syrian military helicopter downed as Idlib fighting intensifies

A Syrian military helicopter has been shot down in northwest Syria, where an intensifying government offensive to retake the country’s last rebel-held areas has caused a massive wave of displacement.

Syrian state media said the aircraft was hit by a missile at approximately 1:40pm (11:40 GMT) on Friday near the town of Urum al-Kubra in the western countryside of Aleppo.

“This led the helicopter to crash, killing all crew on board,” SANA news agency said, without providing any information on who was behind the incident.

The National Liberation Front rebel group claimed responsibility in a statement posted on the Telegram app.

Turkey’s Anadolu news agency also said rebels reported striking the helicopter while it was flying over the west of Aleppo province.

The agency said the helicopter took off from an area near the centre of Aleppo city amid “clashes between the opposition and regime forces” and was shot at from the Qibtan al-Jabal region. It was seen crashing, unleashing a plume of smoke, the agency reported.

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