Russian warplane crashes in Syria, 2 pilots killed

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A Russian Su-30SM fighter jet has crashed in Syria, killing two pilots, according to the Defense Ministry on Thursday.

"On May 3, at about 0945 Moscow time [1245GMT], during [the warplane’s] climb after take-off from Hmeimim air base over the Mediterranean Sea, Russian fighter jet Su-30SM crashed.

Both pilots died on the spot, the statement, released by the ministry, added.

According to a preliminary probe, a bird stuck in the plane's engine was said to have caused the crash; there was no fire in the incident, it said.

This is the seventh aircraft Russia has lost in Syria since the beginning of its presence in the country in 2015. Four helicopters were downed and two crashed because of technical malfunction.

Number of Russian servicemen who died in Syria is now said to be over 100.

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