Russian Defense Ministry refutes reports about downed helicopter in Syria

Russian Defense Ministry refutes reports about downed helicopter in Syria

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said 14 people died in an alleged bombing by Russian aircraft targeting the Mahkan area, reports Efe news.

"They were crossing the river on makeshift rafts in a village south of Mayadeen", Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said, adding that three children were among those killed overnight.

The Syrian army has entered the largest Daesh (ISIS, Islamic State, banned in Russia) stronghold in the province of Deir ez-Zor, the town of al-Mayadeen (located 45 kilometers east of the city of Deir ez-Zor), a government forces brigadier general told RIA Novosti.

Taking Mayadeen would mark another blow to the extremist group, which has lost wide areas of Iraq and Syria in its self-declared caliphate over the past year.

"The Syrian army is continuing to strike the terrorist Daesh (Islamic State) group fiercely in Deir al-Zor and its surroundings. and will continue its operations until it eliminates (Daesh) and drive what's left of them out of this province", he said.

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Backed by Russian air power, the army has continued its advance towards Mayadeen from Deir Ezzor along the Euphrates valley.

IS jihadists have controlled Mayadeen in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor since 2014.

Hezbollah, part of the military alliance supporting President Bashar al-Assad, said this week a senior commander had been killed in an Islamic State attack in Syria's central desert.

In Syria, a military helicopter of the Russian Armed forces made an emergency landing, the militants "LIH" said that it was shot down in Russia deny.

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