Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Russian Federation says Syrian missile brought down aircraft

Russian Federation says Syrian missile brought down aircraft

Syria accidentally shot down a Russian military aircraft, on Monday killing all 15 crew members, when its air defences swung into action against an Israeli missile strike, Russian and Israeli forces said on Tuesday. The Russian military said the plane was hit 35 kilometres offshore late Monday night as it was returning to the Russian air base in Syria.

Naftali Bennett, another member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet, said "deconfliction mechanisms" would be improved, referring to a Russian-Israeli hotline created to avoid inadvertent clashes with forces Moscow sent to Syria as part of a military intervention mounted in 2015.

Defying criticisms of Tel Aviv's unlawful military actions against Syrian soil, the Israeli minister for military affairs, Avidgor Lieberman, said Thursday that the regime will not stop such attacks, but would do more to "de-conflict" them with Russian forces. He added it had been shot down by a Syrian anti-aircraft artillery system retaliating against the Israeli strike.

"By hiding behind the Russian plane, Israeli pilots put it in the line of fire", read a ministry statement issued after the incident.

"As a result, the Ilyushin-20, its reflective surface being far greater than that of the F-16, was downed by a missile launched with the S-200 system".

Assad's telegram to Putin expressed his "deep condolences" for the servicemen's deaths and blamed Israeli "aggression".

Moscow blamed Tel Aviv for the incident, saying its military planes deliberately "created a unsafe situation" that led to the crash.

Russia's dramatic entry into the Syrian civil war in September 2015 to support Syrian President Bashar Assad after a year of airstrikes by the USA and its allies against the Islamic State group increased the possibility of risky confrontations over Syria.

Israeli army spokesman Brig.

Israel has mainly struck Iranian targets in Syria and weapon convoys en route to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Abu Yaqzan al-Masri, a religious judge affiliated with HTS, said the coming days will be "full of surprises" and warned against the rebels giving up their weapons. Washington would nearly certainly respond militarily to any Russian retaliation against the Israeli action in Latakia. However, Russian president Vladimir Putin promptly ascribed the incident to the fog of war. He urged the Israeli side "not to allow such situations to happen again", according to the Kremlin.

While briefing the taskforce about the pact on Thursday, Russian and Turkish envoys made clear they "are still working. on the details", Egeland said.

"The prime minister, in the name of the State of Israel, conveyed sorrow over the deaths of the Russian soldiers and said that the responsibility for downing the plane falls on Syria", a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office said .

Putin said that heavy weapons would be withdrawn from all opposition forces by October 10 - a move supported by the Syrian government. They started their target run at a low altitude from the Mediterranean Sea.

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