Russia+says+military+plane+carrying+15+people+shot+down+by+Syrian+missiles
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 - 14:23
Russia says military plane carrying 15 people shot down by Syrian missiles
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A Russian military aircraft with 15 people onboard has been shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft defences, the Russian defence ministry has said.

The ministry blamed Israel’s “irresponsible actions” for the incident, however, saying Israeli pilots put the aircraft in the path of Syrian air defence systems in a “deliberate provocation”.

A search for the Russian Il-20 was initiated after contact was lost about 35km off the coast of Syria at about 11pm local time (2000 GMT) on Monday.

In a statement, a Russian military spokesman said that Israeli F-16 pilots were using the Russian plane as cover while carrying out missile strikes against targets in Syria’s Latakia province and put it in the line of fire from Syrian anti-aircraft batteries.

“We retain the right to an appropriate response,” the spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said, without giving details on whether that response could include military action.

Syria said its anti-air batteries had fired at incoming missiles from the sea that were heading towards several locations in the coastal city of Latakia.

“Air defences have confronted enemy missiles coming from the sea in the direction of the Latakia city, and intercepted a number of them,” the state news agency Sana quoted a military source as saying.

A US official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the US government believed Syrian defences may have accidentally shot down the Russian aircraft while firing at incoming Israeli missiles. Hmeimim airbase, the Russian-operated facility in Syria to which the missing plane was returning, is located south-east of Latakia city. (The Guardian)
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