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Army chopper hits airliner with 200 aboard, says Syria government - reports

A Syrian military helicopter that crashed near the capital Damascus on Thursday hit the tail of a commercial airliner but the 200 passengers on board escaped unharmed, according to media reports citing Syria's information ministry.

"The helicopter struck the tail of the plane ... The control tower at Damascus airport confirmed that the plane landed safely at Damascus airport and all 200 passengers are in good health," a statement published on the state news channel Suriya said, Reuters reported.

Rebel fighters in Syria claim to have seized another border crossing into Turkey, from the control of President Assad's government forces. But around the capital Damascus, the rebels are losing ground. Three southern suburbs have been retaken by the president's forces. ITV's Bill Neely reports from Damascus.

Regional television channel Al-Arabiya carried a similar report, also citing Suriya.

Reuters reported that an unidentified activist in Damascus said rebels had shot down the helicopter. However, no rebel group has claimed the attack yet.

Claims made by either side in Syria's ongoing civil war are almost impossible to verify, and it was not immediately clear if any of the reports about the helicopter were correct.

Suriya earlier told Reuters that a helicopter had crashed in the town of Douma east of the Syrian capital. 

Al-Arabiya said rebel fighters seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad have increasingly attacked planes and helicopters which the Syrian president has used to crush opposition strongholds, bringing down a helicopter on the outskirts of Damascus on Aug. 27. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

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