The body of the Russian Air Force pilot who died last week after his plane was shot down over rebel-held territory in Syria has been returned to Russia.
"In cooperation with Turkish colleagues, Russian military intelligence brought back to Russia the body of an attack pilot, Major Roman Filipov, who died as a hero on February 3," the Defense Ministry said on February 6.
The statement did not reveal how Filipov's body was retrieved.
Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree posthumously awarding Filipov the title "Hero of Russia."
According to the decree published on the Kremlin’s website, Filipov was given the title "for heroism, bravery, and courage performed while carrying out his service duties."
Filipov reportedly parachuted out of his Sukhoi-25 ground-attack aircraft into a Syrian rebel stronghold in the northern province of Idlib, and killed himself with a hand grenade to avoid capture.
The Defense Ministry said on February 6 that Russia is seeking Turkey's help to recover the wreckage of the plane, particularly to identify the type of weapon used in the attack.
Russian officials have said that the Su-25 was shot down by a portable antiaircraft missile system.
Russia has given President Bashar al-Assad's government crucial support throughout Syria's nearly seven-year civil war in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed since it began with a crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2011. Turkey is backing rebel groups.
The downing of Filipov's plane was the first time Syrian rebels have shot down a Russian warplane.
In July 2016, Syrian opposition forces used a shoulder-launched missile to shoot down a Russian-made Syrian helicopter manned by a Russian crew.
In all, Russia has reported losing four jets and four helicopters during the Syrian campaign, including two jets that crashed while trying to land on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and an Su-24 bomber that was shot down by Turkey in November 2015.
With reporting by AFP, dpa, Interfax, TASS, Reuters, and AP