Russia: Military jet with 14 servicemen vanishes off Syria

Russia. Photo/Courtesy

A Russian military aircraft was brought down by a Syrian missile over the Mediterranean Sea, killing all 14 people on board.

According to Russian defence ministry the Israel pilots were using the Russian aircraft as a shield and pushed it into the line of fire of the Syrian defence.

The ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov said they blame Israel for the crash, saying the reconnaissance plane was caught in the crossfire as four Israeli fighter jets attacked targets in northwestern Syria.

The aircraft was hit 35 km off the Syrian coast as it was returning to its home base nearby.

Russia has vowed to make an “appropriate response” to Israel.

An Israel military spokesperson when asked about both the reported Israeli attack and the Russian plane said: “We don’t comment on foreign reports.”

For several years, Israel and Russia have maintained a special hotline to prevent their air forces from clashing in the skies over Syria.

The Syrian state media on Tuesday morning reported at around the time the plane disappeared, the Syrian coastal city of Latakia – near the Russian Khmeimim airbase came under attack from “enemy missiles” and missile defence batteries responded.

The aircraft was returning to its Khmeimim airbase in Latakia.

The Russian military said Israel did not warn it of its operation over Latakia province until one minute before the strike, which did not give the Russian plane enough time to escape.

Moscow has previously lost aircraft during its Syria campaign.

In November 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, triggering a diplomatic spat between Ankara and Moscow.

In 2016, a Russian Ministry of Defence aircraft carrying 92 people and also on its way to Khmeimim, crashed shortly after taking off from Sochi airport, killing all on board.

In February this year, Syrian rebels shot down a Sukhoi 25 jet over Idlib province.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ 28 = 32