Syria's Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane

Syria's Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian planePresident Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday blamed Israel for the downing of a Russian plane, which was accidentally hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire during an Israeli missile strike. “This unfortunate incident was the result of Israeli arrogance and depravity,” the Syrian leader said, offering his condolences in a letter to his Russian counterpart for the death of 15 Russian crew members killed in the incident over Syria on Monday. The Russian plane was downed by Syria’s Russian-made S-200 air defence system and all aboard were killed.


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Syria's Bashar al-Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane, heightening tensions

Syria's Bashar al-Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane, heightening tensionsPresident Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday blamed Israel for the downing of a Russian plane, which was accidentally hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire during an Israeli missile strike. His intervention risks provoking fresh tensions a day after Moscow and Tel Aviv moved to de-escalate a row that threatened to build into a military confrontation.  “This unfortunate incident was the result of Israeli arrogance and depravity,” the Syrian leader said, offering his condolences in a letter to his Russian counterpart for the death of 15 Russian crew members killed in the incident over Syria on Monday. “We are determined that such tragic events will sway neither you nor us from continuing the fight against terrorism,” he continued in the letter published by the official Sana agency. The Russian plane was shot down by Syria’s Russian-made S-200 air defence system and all aboard were killed on Tuesday. The Russian military has accused Israeli pilots of using the Russian plane as cover, “exposing it to fire from Syrian air defences” while they mounted an air raid.  Israel said it had targeted a Syrian military facility where weapons manufacturing systems were “about to be transferred on behalf of Iran” to Lebanese Shia group Hizbollah. Putin wants to claim victory in Syria – but needs to watch for his old ally Iran It was the worst “friendly fire” incident between Moscow and the Syrian regime since Russian forces intervened in the country in late 2015 to support Mr Assad whose grip on power had been weakened by rebels and jihadist fighters. Vladmir Putin, the Russian president, had struck a conciliatory tone a day earlier describing the incident as the result of “tragic accidental circumstances,” but warning Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, against carrying out such operations in the future and promiding to beef up security for Russian forces in Syria. Russia military aircraft (Il-20) disappeared of the coast of Syria Mr Netanyahu on Tuesday expressed his “sorrow” to Mr Putin in a phone call, offering to assist Moscow in the investigation. However he insisted the Russian plane had been felled by “extensive and inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft (fire)”. In recent months Israel has increased its attacks in Syria against the regime or its ally Iran.


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Hezbollah to stay in Syria 'until further notice', leader says

Hezbollah to stay in Syria 'until further notice', leader saysHezbollah will stay in Syria “until further notice”, the leader of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday in a televised address. “We will remain there even after the Idlib accord,” Nasrallah said, referring to a Russia-Turkey deal to prevent a Syrian regime offensive on the country’s last rebel-held stronghold. “Our presence there is tied to necessity and to the consent of the Syrian leadership,” said Nasrallah, whose Hezbollah movement is backing the Damascus regime in the ongoing conflict.


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Russia blames Israel for friendly fire attack on its aircraft by Syria which killed 15 servicemen

Russia blames Israel for friendly fire attack on its aircraft by Syria which killed 15 servicemenRussia and Israel risked a military confrontation on Tuesday after a Russian reconnaissance plane with 15 people onboard was mistakenly shot down by allied Syria forces that were targeting Israeli jets. Russia’s defence ministry said that Israeli F-16 pilots were using its Ilyushin Il-20 turbo-prop aircraft signal as cover while carrying out strikes against targets in Latakia province and put it in the line of fire from Syrian missiles. The aircraft was hit 22 miles off Latakia’s coast in the eastern Mediterranean on Monday evening as it was returning to a Russian airbase nearby. President Vladimir Putin was forced to step in to defuse the escalating row between the two countries, which have an uneasy alliance despite backing opposing sides in the Syrian war. Israel, which appears to have been targeting an ammunitions depot linked to the Lebanese Shia militia Hizbullah, denied it was its intention to provoke Syria into firing at the Russian plane. A IL-20PP reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force taking  Credit: Alamy However, the Russian defence ministry said they were given only a one-minute warning from Israel over their deconfliction hotline, leaving it with insufficient time to reach a safe area. Israeli pilots carrying out attacks on Syrian targets “used the Russian plane as a cover, exposing it to fire from Syrian air defences,” Igor Konashenkov, Russian military spokesman, said in televised remarks. Idlib offensive: Why the looming fight for Syria’s last rebel stronghold could be the bloodiest yet “We consider these provocative actions by Israel as hostile. Fifteen Russian military service members died because of irresponsible actions of the Israeli military. It’s absolutely contrary to spirit of Russia-Israeli partnership,” he said. “We reserve right for adequate response.” Mr Putin later downplayed the incident, saying the downing of the plane was the result of “a chain of tragic circumstances” and that Moscow would look into boosting security for its servicemen. The Russian president and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly spoke over the phone to clear the air. Russia military aircraft (Il-20) disappeared of the coast of Syria Israel and Russia have so far managed to carefully coordinate military action in Syria. Israel has carried out more than 200 attacks on Hizbollah and Iranian targets in Syria in the last few years in an attempt to stop its foes becoming too entrenched in the country. Moscow has never interfered. However, the latest incident marks the worst loss of Russian life to friendly fire since Moscow intervened in the conflict in 2015 and could change the way they view the Israeli raids, particularly so close to Russian bases. Improving relations between the two countries has been a source of tension between Russia and client state Syria, which is technically at war with Israel. Russian troops were recently sent to the border of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to act as a buffer between Syrian forces and the Jewish state. A general view shows Russian fighter jets on the tarmac at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia in 2016 Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Ilyushin aircraft was reported missing shortly after Moscow announced an agreement with Turkey to set up a demilitarised zone in the last rebel stronghold of Idlib. The two countries said they would be sending military police to patrol the area and help expel jihadists. The deal temporarily delays off an all-out offensive by Syrian forces to retake the province, which the United Nations had warned would spark the worst humanitarian crisis this century. The EU hailed a political solution for Idlib, but said any deal must protect civilians and ensure humanitarian access. Experts however warned that the agreement was lacking in detail and cautioned that it does not guarantee that an offensive is no longer on the table further down the line. November 2015: Turkey shoots down Russian jet for airspace ‘violation’  


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Russia blames Israel after Syria, an ally, killed 15 by downing a Russian plane in a wild air battle

  1. Russia blames Israel after Syria, an ally, killed 15 by downing a Russian plane in a wild air battle  Business Insider
  2. Russia blames Israel after its reconnaissance plane downed by Syrian air defense  Washington Post
  3. Syria Shoots Down a Russian Military Plane, and Moscow Blames Israel  New York Times
  4. Full coverage


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