A Russian military helicopter was shot down in Syria's Idlib province on Monday, according to a statement issued by the Russian Defence Ministry, the official state-owned TASS news agency reported.
The Mi-8 helicopter, carrying three crewmembers and two officers, was en route to the Hmeymim Air Base in Aleppo when it was shot down by fire from the ground.
"Those who were aboard the helicopter, according to information from the Defense Ministry, have died heroically because they were attempting to steer the machine to minimise the casualties on the ground," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Images shared on social media purportedly showed a dead man stripped of his clothes. His Russian identity documents also taken from the crashed helicopter.
Meanwhile some twitter users also questioned the Russian Defence Ministry's version of the situation, pointing out that the crashed helicopter was equipped with rocket pods.
Russia says helicopter downed in Syria was delivering "humanitarian aid". Apparent rocket pods in footge of wreckage pic.twitter.com/PqxUYThPvj
— John Beck (@JM_Beck) August 1, 2016
Russian air forces have been supporting the Bashar al Assad-led regime in Syria's five-year-old civil war with air strikes since last year.
Around 40 km north-east of the crash site, opposition groups are staging an offensive to break a regime siege on opposition-held parts of eastern Aleppo city.
Earlier in July, two Russian pilots were killed in Syria after DAESH shot down a Syrian Mi-25 helicopter near Palmyra.
Over five years of war in Syria has failed to break the deadlock between the regime and rebels groups, despite numerous attempts to implement ceasefires and establish dialogue.
According to some estimates, as many as 470,000 people may have died in the war.
As much as half of Syria’s populations has been displaced, triggering the worst refugee crisis the world has seen since World War II.