Around midnight, a Syrian military helicopter came under fire over Bahariyah in the East Ghouta (rural Damascus), according to the Jaish al-Islam spokesman Hamza Bairakdar.
A video of the incident surfaced minutes ago:
Hamza Bairakdar said the helicopter was downed using the 9K33 Osa anti-aircraft system; this surface-to-air missile launcher was previously believed to have been completely destroyed in October 2015 by the Russian Airforce.
However, upon inquiry with a military source in Damascus, Al-Masdar News was informed that the helicopter had landed safely at a nearby airport shortly after the attack. The source added that the 9K33 Osa missile was deterred by a flare at the last moment.
Remarkably, the incident happened just hours after none other than Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited the nearby frontline at Marj al-Sultan, just a few kilometers from Bahariyah.
The 9K33 Osa anti-aircraft system was acquired by Islamist rebels in late 2012 as they seized Marj al-Sultan helicopter base; the military site was since recaptured by government forces in December 2015, thus enabling the presidential visit on Sunday.
Government troops have been making steady gains in the Syrian capital in 2016 as well, most recently with their capture of Bahariyah six days ago.