Insurgents in Syria have seized at least four government airmen, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports.
The capture purportedly took place after their helicopter came down in a rebel-held area in Idlib province.
The British-based activist group said opposition fighters – including members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front – had killed one crew member and taken most of the rest prisoner. One person was said to be unaccounted for.
Images posted to social media sites purport to show the injured pilot being led away.
Images of a crew member and pilot of the downed regime helicopter in Idlib, Syria. pic.twitter.com/uTqlUloNyW— Breaking News (@NewsOnTheMin) March 22, 2015
Syrian state television confirmed the chopper crashed in the country’s northwest following mechanical problems, but simply said authorities were searching for those originally on board.
Meanwhile, a video posted on social media sites appears to show government forces continuing to bomb parts of Aleppo and Dar’a province. Activists claim the military often uses helicopters to drop crude barrel bombs onto rebel strongholds. President Bashar al-Assad denies the allegation.