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Syrian helicopter crashes 'after clipping passenger plane'

A Syrian military helicopter crashed in a Damascus suburb after clipping the tail of a passenger jet carrying 200 people, according to a state TV report.

Syria helicopter crash 20120920Enlarge
The Syrian flag flutters above Damascus on September 20, 2012. Rebel fighters shot down a helicopter in a battleground town near Damascus today, a watchdog said, as Syria's opposition declared parts of the capital a "disaster area." (LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

A Syrian military helicopter that crashed Thursday near Damascus had clipped the tail of a passenger jet in mid-air, Syria's state TV said.

The Syrian Arab Airlines plane, carrying 200 people, landed safely and no one aboard was hurt, according to the report cited by the Associated Press. It was not clear if there were any causalities in the helicopter crash.

Earlier, opposition activists said that rebel fighters had brought down the helicopter near Douma, a suburb of Damascus, the BBC reported.

More from GlobalPost: Inside Syria: Free Syrian Army says it will target civilian airports

The Syrian government is increasingly attacking from the air in its fight against the rebels, with activists saying the air strikes have turned parts of Damascus into a disaster zone. 

GlobalPost's correspondent in Syria, Tracey Shelton, reports that the Free Syrian Army is planning to target civilian airports, with the rebels saying they have been left with little choice.

"Facing a near constant barrage of regime attacks from the air, and little support from the international community to enforce a no-fly zone, the rebels are attempting — on their own — to cripple the government’s ability to launch airstrikes and move weapons," Shelton writes.

The UN estimates that the 18-month-old conflict in Syria has left at least 20,000 people dead.

More from GlobalPost: Full Coverage: Inside the Syrian conflict

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120920/syrian-helicopter-crashes-after-clipping-passenger-jet