Rebel fighters in Aleppo have launched a major military operation aimed at breaking a weeks-long regime siege of the opposition-controlled eastern part of the Syrian city.
Dozens of soldiers on both sides of the battle have died so far in the brutal fighting, including the crew of a Russian helicopter that was shot down about 25 miles south of Aleppo on Monday morning, killing all five people on board in the single deadliest incident for Moscow since it intervened in the war.
Images on social media purportedly taken at the scene of the crash showed a dead body stripped of clothing being dragged through the dirt near the wreckage.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for shooting it down of the plane and no group among those fighting to end the siege of rebel-held districts of Aleppo has claimed responsibility.
Aid organisations believe about 250,000 civilians still live in the rebel-controlled eastern half of the city and their plight has led to growing international alarm. The area has been subjected to a brutal aerial bombing campaign from the forces of Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies, who have destroyed the last hospital operating in eastern Aleppo.