Syria mistakenly downs Russian plane – Moscow blames Israel
Russia accused Israel of a “hostile provocation” in striking the Syrian port city of Latakia and threatened retaliation after Moscow blamed Israel for indirectly causing a Russian military plane with 15 servicemen on board to be shot down near Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
Russia’s defense ministry accused IAF planes of creating a “dangerous” situation in Latakia, near where the aircraft was downed by Syrian air defense systems, adding that Israel warned Moscow about the planned operation one minute beforehand, not enough time to get the plane to safety.
The defense ministry said 15 Russian military service people died because of Israel’s “irresponsible actions,” adding that it reserves the right to retaliate.
According to the ministry, the Israeli F-16 jets carrying out the air strikes used the Russian plane as a cover to allow them to approach their targets on the ground without being hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu later spoke with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, and told him that Moscow holds Israel wholly to blame for the shooting down of a Russian military plane near Syria.
A recovery operation in the Mediterranean Sea is underway.
Syria and Russia were quick to attribute the strike on the coastal city to the Israel Air Force though Russian defense ministry said that Russian airspace controls means have detected several missile launches from a French frigate in the Mediterranean.
According to reports, the strike was intended to hit a warehouse storing drones and missiles.
According to the state SANA news agency, the attack targeted the Technical Industries Agency headquarters in Latakia, owned by the Syrian military.
Reports from the area refer to “powerful explosions” heard in the city. According to Syrian military sources, the strikes also targeted a ‘power station’ and an ‘aluminum factory’.