Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Russian military aircraft 'SHOT DOWN' over Mediterranean during assault in Syria

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

USA officials believe the Il-20 surveillance plane - with 14 people aboard - was accidentally brought down by anti-aircraft artillery operated by Moscow's ally, the Syrian government, Reuters reported.

The defence ministry in Moscow said the aircraft was returning to the Russian-run Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province when, at about 11:00 pm Moscow time (20:00 GMT) on Monday, it disappeared from radar screens.

Syrian air defense forces may have accidentally shot down a Russian Il-20 Coot electronic intelligence aircraft during an attempt to respond to apparent Israeli air strikes against targets in Syria's coastal Latakia governorate.

Earlier this month, an Israeli military official said the Jewish state has struck over 200 Iranian targets in Syria over the past 18 months.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined comment, telling the Times of Israel: "We don't comment on foreign reports".

But a French army spokesman pushed back, saying: "The French army denies any involvement in this attack".

"The trace of the Il-20 on flight control radars disappeared during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian facilities in Latakia province", the statement was quoted as saying.

After an airstrike in which U.S. and its allies fired over 100 missiles towards suspected chemical weapons facilities in April, Russian forces claimed the "high-effectiveness" of Russian-supplied weapons and "excellent training of Syrian servicemen" had shot down 71 missiles. A military official quoted then on state media said Syrian air defenses intercepted some missiles coming from the sea.

Turkey, meanwhile, had moved its own forces into Idlib, with the daily Hurriyet reporting on Monday that tanks and some 50 military vehicles had crossed the border and headed toward the Jisr al-Shughour region in the south of the province, which had been targeted by Russian and Syrian government airstrikes.

Russian defence ministry said that Russian airspace controls means have detected several missile launches from French frigate in Mediterranean late on Monday.

The Observatory said at the time that the September 4 attacks were believed aimed at Iranian military posts.

Putin told a press conference that the agreement provided for the withdrawal from Idlib of "all radical fighters", including Al Nusra, and the removal from the demilitarized zone of all "heavy weaponry".

State media said the explosions were suspected to have been caused by Israeli strikes.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government.

Syria's conflict erupted in 2011 and has since killed more than 360,000 people, with millions more displaced internally and to neighboring countries.

Russian Federation began military strikes in Syria in 2015 after a request from President Bashar al-Assad, who has stayed in power despite seven years of civil war.

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