“Militants have shot down a military helicopter near Palmyra in Syria, killing two Russian pilots on board”, Russia’s defence ministry said.

The two men had been attacking a detachment of Islamic State fighters in the Homs region on Friday, when the Syrian Mi-25 helicopter they were in ran out of ammunition”, the ministry added.

The turning helicopter was hit by militants’ gunfire from the ground and crashed in the area controlled by the Syrian government army, killing the crew“, the defence ministry said.

Video footage published on Saturday by Islamic State’s affiliated news agency  showed a helicopter being shot and crashing to the ground against cries of ‘It’s fallen, God is greatest’.

Russian forces entered the conflict at the end of last year, backing the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.