Middle East News

Russia Rages And Accuses Israel Of Causing Syrian Shoot-Down Of Russian Plane

Image by Allen Wilson
Ilyushin IL-20M

Russia placed blame squarely on the Jewish State of Israel today for the downing last night of a Russian reconnaissance plane as it was making its way back to the Russian air base at Khmeimim in Syria. The aircraft was shot down by Syrian air defense systems in an incident of friendly fire as Israel launched a barrage of attacks against Syrian and Iranian targets. Israel has repeatedly, preemptively taken out weapons near its borders placed by Iran that is says threaten its security.

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Russia will respond to actions on behalf of the Israeli Air Force that led to a fatal crash of Russia’s Il-20 aircraft on Monday late night in Syria, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday. “We have informed today our Israeli colleagues, and I have also informed personally the Israeli Defense Minister [Avigdor Lieberman], that such actions will not be left unanswered by us,” Shoigu said, reported Russian state news agency TASS.

“Our reconnaissance airplane Il-20 with 15 crew members on board – that had been conducting reconnaissance tasks over the Idlib de-escalation zone to find places of storage and collection of unmanned aerial vehicles which fly from this zone and strike various Syrian regions – was in the strike zone, strictly speaking between Israel’s aircraft – four F-16 planes – and Syrian territory…It’s clear to any specialist the strike was delivered using our Ilyushin-20 as a cover, as they thought the Syrian air defense systems would not act in that direction,” he said.

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The IDF said its fighter jets had targeted a Syrian facility overnight that it said was about to transfer weapons to Lebanon’s Hezbollah on behalf of Iran, another key ally of the Syrian regime. It said the Israeli jets “were already within Israeli airspace” when Russia’s Il-20 was hit.

The IDF said Syrian anti-aircraft batteries had fired “indiscriminately” in response to Israeli airstrikes and “did not bother” to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air, reported The Moscow Times.

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