Russian Federation loses contact with aircraft with 14 on board in Syria

Charlene Craig
September 18, 2018

The Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft went down with 14 service members during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on the coastal city of Latakia, near the Hmeymim airbase to which the Russian plane was returning, the ministry said.

CNN quoted the USA official as saying the Syrian army was actually trying to stop a barrage of Israeli missiles, and a second official confirmed that Israel was responsible for the missile strikes on the Syrian positions.

The Technical Industry Institution on the outskirts of Latakia was reportedly targeted in the alleged Israeli attack.

The strikes followed a similar attack on Damascus International Airport late Saturday, which Syrian state media also blamed on Israel. The Syrian air defense network in western Syria is very densely populated with anti-aircraft missile and radar systems.

Earlier, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported that missiles were fired at several locations in Latakia late on September 17.

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A Russian military plane with 14 servicemen aboard was accidentally shot down by Syrian air defenses as they tried to repel an alleged Israeli strike on Monday, a U.S. official told CNN.

Russian sources attributed the attacks to four F-16 fighter jets that had apparently flown over Lebanon and the Mediterranean to attack the port city.

Hassan Ammar/AP PhotoDamascus skies erupt with surface-to-air missile fire as the United States launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital, April 14, 2018.

"After the radar incident, 35 kilometers from the Syrian coast, a Russian Il-20 was lost, carrying 14 servicemen on board".

Russian Federation pointed the finger at a French Navy ship, The Auvergne, which was in the area at the time it lost contact with its aircraft.

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Hotlines are in place for those countries to share operational information on their deployments, but diplomats and military planners say there is still a high risk of one state inadvertently striking another country's forces.

The Syrian government regularly accuses Israel of targeting its military positions.

They added that it was not immediately known who fired the missiles.

President Putin said the two leaders agreed to create a 15 to 20 kilometre wide demilitarised zone along the line of contact between rebels and regime troops by October 15.

Mr Putin said "radical militants" such as the Al Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham would have to withdraw from the zone.

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It said electricity was later fully restored to Latakia province, a stronghold of Syria's government, after a partial blackout caused by the attack.

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