Russian warplane crashes during takeoff in Syria, killing 2

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MOSCOW ā€“ Russia's Ministry of Defense says an SU24 fighter jet has crashed while taking off from a base in Syria, killing the two crewmembers.

The ministry says in a short statement the jet skidded of the runway during takeoff on Tuesday at the Hemeimeem air base near Syria's coast.

Russian news agencies quoted the ministry as saying the cause could have been technical malfunction.

Russia joined the war in Syria in September 2015, backing President Bashar Assad's forces and tipping the balance of power in his favor.

Russian warplanes have been carrying out intense airstrikes in recent weeks against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, where government forces are advancing against IS along the western bank of the Euphrates.

Russian warplanes have also been attacking insurgent positions in northern Syria.

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