MOSCOW – Two Russian pilots died when their Su-24 plane crashed at Khmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry explained that the crash, which could have been caused by a technical malfunction, did not damage any of the airbase’s facilities.
“On October 10, a Su-24 skidded off the runway and crashed while accelerating to take off for a combat mission from Khmeimim Airbase in Syria,” the ministry said in a statement.
Since September 2015, Khmeimim airbase has hosted units of the Russian air forces, which help the Syrian army in its fight against the Islamic State terror organization.
Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said that IS militants were trying to send forces to Syria from neighboring Iraq in the recent days.
He pointed out that Russian planes target IS militants around the clock with more than 150 airstrikes a day.
Konashenkov stressed that the United States-led international coalition had significantly reduced its attacks against IS combatants in Iraq, which coincided with the extremists’ step to send reinforcements to Syria from that country.