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Russian helicopter shot down
Since the Russian air force intervened to strike at the enemies of Assad 18 of their military personnel have lost their lives in this conflict.
Russia has a naval base on the Mediterranean coast of Syria which also entertains Russian air force planes and other aspects of the Russian military in Latakia.
This is the only base the Russians have to give them access to the Med and many of the Russian air strikes carried out on Islamic State and other enemies of Assad are launched from here.
Many of the groups the Russians have been bombing are anti - Assad like the Free Syrian Army but these groups have been trained by the Americans whose air force also flies in the skies above Syria along with an international coalition of planes including the UK hitting IS around the clock and also groups associated with AQ.
The anti - aircraft inventory of groups like Islamic State has been focused on with keen interest as the group have brought down Iraqi, Jordanian and Russian aircraft but these have been helicopters and only in the Jordanian case was it a combat jet.
IS have captured anti - aircraft weapons ranging from missiles to anti - aircraft guns and are believed to be developing something like a sophisticated anti - aircraft defence system to combat the air strikes upon them. Many IS and other terrorist groups are believed to be carrying shoulder fired anti - aircraft missiles which are portable and easy to use.
News has come through that a Russian mi - 8 helicopter on its way back from a humanitarian mission over the city of Aleppo has been shot down by ground fire. 5 of the personnel on board are believed dead and footage shows a Russian airman stripped of his clothes with Russian documents strewn around in the wreckage of the chopper.
Aleppo is facing an advance from rebel forces trying to lift the siege on the city imposed by Assad forces. Russian planes have been hitting rebel forces trying to help the Assad forces maintain the siege of Aleppo.
Moscow has announced in the light of the shooting down of the mi - 8 helicopter that it will continue its war on Islamic State and other groups and this message was no doubt in reply to an Islamic State video imploring Muslims with in the boundaries of Russia to strike at the heart of the Russian state itself.
Could Syria be another Afghanistan for the Russians well probably not as long as the Russian dead and injured are kept to a minimum and the public at home back Putin's campaign to bolster his friend Assad.
Putin has shown a streak of tenacity against his enemies whether it be the West or Islamic State and is very unpredictable and ruthless when needs be.
He has put Russia firmly back on the map as a world power and if Islamic State or any other group working with or influencing Muslims to attack Russia Putin will not mess around.
Any attack inside Russia has already drawn comment by Vladimir Putin and make no bones about it Putin used words to make his enemies know that Russia would react with the severest of military replies.
Russian fighters in combat
Time line of Russian intervention in Syria and gains.
The Russians entered the fray in Syria at the request of the Syrian government who though holding their ground to some extent and having air power were still struggling to hold back the rebels whether they be the Western backed Free Syrian Army or the Islamic State.
The Russians entered the fray on 30 September 2015.
The situation on the ground and in the air for Russia is still on going.
Russia backing Syrian forces have captured back 586 settlements and 12,000 square km of land they lost in previous encounters with rebel forces.
Major pro - government strategic gains with the help of Russian forces were in Latakia, Palmyra and Aleppo.
Some Russian forces partially withdrew.
18 Russian servicemen dead.
Russian airstrikes in support of Assad continue currently.
Brief description of Mi - 8.
Medium twin turbo helicopter.
Originally designed by the Soviet Union now produced by Russia.
It can reach speeds of 260 km.
Its wingspan reaches 21 m
The aircraft was introduced in 1967.
The engine type is known as a turbo shaft.
It took its maiden flight on July 9, 1967.
Manufacturer of the mil - 8 is built by the Mil Moscow helicopter plant.