The Free Syrian Army, whom Russian aircraft have been targeting in northern Syria to support the Assad regime, says it has shot down a Russian rescue helicopter while it was searching for the Russian pilots who parachuted from their SU-24 after being hit with a Turkish air to air missile. Turkey says the Russian plane was in Turkish airspace and they warned the Russians ten times via the emergency guard channel.
The Syrian rebels say that shot down the aircraft with a TOW anti-tank missile, most likely supplied by the United States. Videos supplied by the rebel group seem to back up the claim of a shootdown and associated crash site.
The Guardian reports, In what appears to be a separate incident, another Syrian rebel group - the Free Syrian Army’s First Coastal Division - says it has destroyed a Russia helicopter on Turkmen Mountain, using a TOW anti-tank missile, writes Louisa Loveluck, Middle East Correspondent.
If this incident is confirmed, then the existence of a proxy war with Russia and Iran via American-backed forces in Syria is a reality. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the shootdown of a Russian military plane a ‘stab in the back’ by forces supporting the Islamic State terrorists. The West believes Russia is primarily attacking Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime rather than targeting ISIS in any meaningful way.