Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Syrian TV says Israeli strikes hit state company, 10 injured

Putin and Erdogan agree to create demilitarised zone in Syria's Idlib Fears Israel or France has shot-down Russian spy plane during raid on Syria
Ellis Copeland | 18 September, 2018, 12:20

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on September 18 that the Il-20 aircraft disappeared from radar at around the same time that Israeli F-16 fighters attacked targets in the Syrian province of Latakia.

A French military spokesman told AFP: "The French army denies any involvement in this attack".

According to TASS, the ministry of defense specified that "the mark of IL-20 went off the radars disappeared during the attack of four Israeli F-16 aircraft on Syrian targets in the province of Latakia".

However, the fate of the 14 people on board the missing plane is unknown, and a rescue operation has been organised out of the Hmeymim base.

A search and rescue mission is now underway.

The Russian Defense Ministry did confirm the aircraft had gone missing in the early hours of September 18, 2018, local time in Syria, but did not say who or what might have been responsible for the crash.

"The Syrian response was remarkably ineffective in all domains", US Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie said at the time.

Russian radars also registered the launch of missiles from a French frigate Auvergne.

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A United States official said Washington believed the aircraft, which is an Il-20 turbo-prop plane used for electronic reconnaissance, was inadvertently shot down by anti-aircraft artillery operated by Moscow's ally, the Syrian government.

Syrian officials have said they do not know who conducted the strike but that missiles "came from the sea".

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu called his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday morning, reportedly telling him Israel is fully to blame for the deaths of the 15 Russians onboard.

There was no comment from Israel on the incident.

The Israelis had fired multiple missiles against targets in the coastal area of Latakia where Russian Federation has based much of its military presence, including aircraft. But Israeli jets have struck Syria dozens of times in recent years, mostly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah positions.

According to the Russian defense ministry, the attacks started around 10 pm local time and lasted one hour, targeting a power station as well as two facilities belonging to the Syrian military.

Monday's attack came hours after Russian Federation and Turkey announced an agreement that effectively prevents a Syrian government offensive against Idlib, a rebel-held area in northwestern Syria.

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