Russia's Defense Ministry says that a Russian military helicopter has crashed in Syria, killing both pilots aboard.
In a statement on January 3, the ministry said the Mil Mi-24 military helicopter crashed due to a "technical malfunction" on December 31 while it was flying to the military air base in Hama, Syria.
The ministry said the helicopter did not come under fire from Syrian opposition forces or Islamic militants on the ground.
"Both pilots died in a hard landing 15 kilometers from the air base," the ministry said, adding that a technician was injured and taken to another air base for emergency treatment.
The Mil Mi-24 is a large, two-engine battlefield and multipurpose helicopter that is designed for direct ground support of tanks and armored vehicles.
It can transport eight people or 1,500 kilograms of cargo in its cargo hold.
Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax