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Russian An-26 plane crashes in Syria, all 32 onboard killed

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, March 6, IRNA/Sputnik -- According to preliminary information, a technical malfunction led to the aircraft crashing near the Russian military's Hmeimim Air Base in the Syrian province of Latakia.

All people on board the crashed An-26 plane, including 26 passengers and six crew members, died in the incident, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

According to the ministry, the aircraft crashed near Hmeimim air base at 3 pm on Tuesday when landing, hitting the ground 500 meters short of the runway.

A technical malfunction could have caused the crash, the ministry added, saying that the aircraft was not attacked.

An investigation into the incident is underway.

This is not the first time that an An-26 has crashed in Syria. In January 2015, an aircraft operated by the Syrian armed forces crashed while landing at the besieged Abu al-Duhur military airport in the Idlib Governorate.

The An-26 is a military transport aircraft capable of carrying up to 38 people excluding the crew and some 5,500 kilograms in cargo.

Russia has been maintaining a military presence in Syria since 2015, launching an anti-terrorist operation at the request of President Bashar Assad. Moscow has two military facilities in the country: the Hmeimin Air Base and the Tartus Naval Facility.

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