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Iraqi Kurdish authorities hand over remains of Syrian Kurdish elite forces from mystery helicopter crash

Circumstances of the helicopter crash have raised even more questions about the mission of those onboard.
An AS332 Super Puma military helicopter flies during a graduation ceremony for Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga officers.

A US-backed, Kurdish-led group announced Tuesday that it had recovered the bodies of nine of its fighters who were killed when two helicopters carrying them crashed in Iraqi Kurdistan on March 15. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stated that the remains of six men and three women members of an elite counterterrorism team were transported to Hasakah in northeast Syria and that a ceremony marking their loss will be held there Wednesday.

The statement shed no further light on who the helicopters belonged to. It reiterated an earlier announcement that the victims were flying to Sulaimaniyah, the second largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan, “as part of joint efforts to combat [Islamic State] cells” when the choppers fell. In a previous statement, the SDF cited poor weather conditions as the reason for the crash that occurred in Dahuk province close to the Turkish border.

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