AMMAN - A Syrian military helicopter crashed in northwestern Syria on Sunday and at least four of its crew were captured by rebels, according to a monitoring group.
Video footage on social media showed a helicopter crashing in the distance. Photographs posted showed one of the crew apparently executed on the spot and an injured pilot taken by rebels from the wreckage.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence in the country, said at least four of the six crew were taken hostage by the al-Qaida offshoot, the Nusra Front.
Al-Qaida's Syrian branch posted a picture of one of the pilots sitting on a mattress on the floor of a room under a hung banner of the group. A video released on social media showed another captured pilot being cursed by a Nusra cleric who blamed him for dropping bombs to kill and maim civilians.
The United Nations says the Syrian air force uses helicopters extensively to drop barrel bombs, improvised munitions, in indiscriminate attacks that cause widespread casualties in residential areas.