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BEIRUT – A Russian military helicopter was shot down over Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province on Monday, killing all five people on board.

According to the defense ministry, a Mi-8 military transport helicopter was downed after delivering humanitarian assistance to the urban center of Aleppo and heading back to Russia’s main air base in the western province of Latakia.

The defense ministry said the helicopter was carrying two officers and three crew members.

The spokesman said that “as far as we know from the information we’ve received from the defense ministry, those in the helicopter died, they died heroically because they were attempting to run the aircraft off to minimize victims on the dry land,”

It is not clear which group downed the chopper.

An alliance of rebel groups holds control over Idlib. Russian military units have been supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s government against rebel fighters since last September.