Earlier, SouthFront reported that ISIS had shot down a Russian military helicopter east of Palmyra. However, the reports were denied by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Next day the Russian MoD confirmed the report:
“On July 8, Russian military pilot-instructors Evgeny Dolgin and Ryafagat Khabibulin, were conducting a calibration flight on a Syrian Mi-25 (export version of the Mi-24) helicopter loaded with ammunition in the province of Homs,” the official statement from the Ministry of Defense reads.
“The crew received a request from the Syrian command group to help defeat the advancing terrorists and fire for effect. The captain of the aircraft, Ryafagat Khabibullin, made the decision to attack.”
The MoD said that due to the crew’s actions the terrorists were thrown back.
“Having spent their ammunition, while turning back to the base, the helicopter was shot down by terrorists from the ground and crashed in an area controlled by the Syrian government. The crew did not survive,” the MoD said.
The both pilots will posthumously receive state awards.