A Russian military MI-24 helicopter crashed in Syria on New Year's Eve killing both pilots following a technical fault, Moscow's defense ministry said Wednesday.
The helicopter was en route to Hama, northwestern Syria, and there was no firing from the ground, agencies quoted the ministry as saying.
"Both pilots died in a hard landing 15 km from the air base," the ministry said, adding that a technician had been injured and taken to another air base for emergency treatment.
The investigative blog Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) quoted a post from Forumavia aviation forum saying the helicopter had tripped over power line wires and crashed while escorting a convoy.
The post did not specify whether the helicopter was escorting a humanitarian convoy or combat unit and the defense ministry did not give any further details.
Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu last month said the military had completed the partial withdrawal from Syria ordered by President Vladimir Putin, but Moscow will maintain a presence in the country, including three battalions and two bases.