How many aircraft and pilots Russia has lost in Syria so far

Russia lost its Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft on September 17 when the pilots of Israeli fighter jets put the Il-20 in the line of fire of Syrian air defence systems. It just so happened that a Russian-made S-200 missile struck the Russian aircraft, having killed 15 Russian servicemen.

On November 24, 2015, a Turkish F-16 fighter deliberately and knowingly shot down the Russian Su-24M bomber plane. The pilots ejected, but one of them - lieutenant-colonel Oleg Peshkov was killed, whereas navigator Konstantin Murakhtin was rescued in a special operation, in which a Mi-8 helicopter was lost too. Terrorists opened fire at the helicopter killing seaman Alexander Pozynich. The Su-24 shootdown incident aggravated relations between Russia and Turkey. The ties between the countries began improving only after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologised to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

On April 12, 2016, a Mi-28N helicopter crashed in Syria's Homs Province. Both crew members were killed - pilot Andrey Okladnikov and navigator Viktor Pankov. The helicopter crashed as a result of a piloting error.

On August 1, 2016, a Mi-8AMTSh helicopter was shot down above the province of Idlib. The helicopter was downed as it was returning to Hmeymim airbase after delivering humanitarian cargo to Aleppo. Three were crew members and two officers of the Russian Reconciliation Center on board - all of them were killed.

On November 3, 2016, a Mi-35M Russian military helicopter made an emergency landing about 40 km to the northwest of Palmyra. After the landing, all crew members were attacked with mortar fire. The helicopter was damaged and was unable to return to the airdrome; the crew were evacuated. The next day terrorists posted a video on the Internet showing the destruction of the abandoned Mi-35.

On October 10, 2017, a Su-24 bomber plane skidded off the runway. The aircraft was completely destroyed as a result of the accident. Both pilots on board did not have time to eject and were killed. Officials with the Defence Ministry said that the incident occurred because of a technical malfunction.

On December 31, 2017, a Mi-24 helicopter crashed 15 km from Hama airfield. Two pilots were killed, a mechanic survived but was seriously injured. The Defence Ministry said that the helicopter crashed as a result of hard landing caused by a technical malfunction.

On February 3, a Su-25 attack aircraft crashed when flying above the de-escalation zone of Idlib.  The pilot, Roman Filipov, managed to eject, but landed on the territory controlled by terrorists. He entered into a battle with terrorists, but was killed. According to the Defence Ministry, the Su-25 attack aircraft was shot down from a man-portable air defence system (MANPAD). Filipov was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Russia in accordance with the decree signed by President Putin.

On March 6, an Antonov An-26 transport aircraft crashed when landing at Hmeymim airbase. The aircraft hit the ground being only 500 meters away from the runway. There were 39 military men, including major general and 26 officers on board - all of them were killed. According to the Ministry, weather conditions were favourable for landing, the aircraft was not attacked from the ground either. Technical reasons are believed to be the prime cause of this accident.

On May 3, a Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter crashed during takeoff from Hmeymim airbase. Officials with the Defence Ministry said that there was no fire impact made, and the plane could crash as a result of a bird strike. Representatives of the ministry noted that two pilots on board were trying to steer the aircraft to the last minute, but were killed in the accident.

On May 7, a multi-purpose Ka-52 attack helicopter crashed during a scheduled flight above eastern regions of Syria. Both pilots aboard were killed. The Defence Ministry said that the helicopter crashed as a result of a technical malfunction. However, the Kommersant newspaper wrote citing sources in the military administration that the helicopter was shot down from a MANPAD.

On September 17, Russia lost the Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft with 15 people on board. The wreckage was found in the afternoon off the coast of the Syrian province of Latakia. Representatives of the Defence Ministry stated that the plane was shot down from a S-200 complex of Syrian air defence forces after pilots of Israeli fighter jets set the Russian airplane up causing it to be shot down.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov