The Latest: IS land mine kills Syrian state TV photographer

The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Syria's state-run news agency says a photographer with Syrian state TV has been killed in the country's central Homs province when a land mine left behind by Islamic State militants exploded.

SANA reported on Tuesday that Mohammed Milad died in eastern rural Homs.

The Islamic State group has been uprooted from its strongholds in Homs in a Russia-backed Syrian government offensive that has also spread to the eastern oil-rich Deir el-Zour province, near the border with Iraq. IS has countered with a surprise counterattack, seizing a strategic town in eastern Homs.

Syria is considered the world's deadliest country for journalists as reporters are caught between the innumerable parties in the conflict.

Reporters Without Borders says at least five journalists have been killed so far in 2017 in Syria.


11:45 a.m.

Russia's Ministry of Defense says an SU24 fighter jet has crashed while taking off from a base in Syria, killing the two crewmembers.

The ministry says in a short statement the jet skidded of the runway during takeoff on Tuesday at the Hemeimeem air base near Syria's coast.

Russian news agencies quoted the ministry as saying the cause could have been technical malfunction.

Russia joined the war in Syria in September 2015, backing President Bashar Assad's forces and tipping the balance of power in his favor.

Russian warplanes have been carrying out intense airstrikes in recent weeks against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, where government forces are advancing against IS along the western bank of the Euphrates.

Russian warplanes have also been attacking insurgent positions in northern Syria.