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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russia to release details on downing of military plane in Syria

Iran Press TV

Sun Sep 23, 2018 05:51AM

Russia is set to publish a report detailing the circumstances that led to the recent accidental downing of an Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft by Syrian air defenses while they were responding to a wave of Israeli airstrikes.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the report, which will be presented on Sunday, includes radar data on Syria's air situation at the time of the incident and the actions of Israeli aircraft in the area.

"The minute-by-minute timeline of the tragedy will be given with a presentation of objective data from the radars' data handling system about the air situation in Syria on September 17 and actions of Israel's air force in the area of the crash," the statement read.

The Russian plane with 15 servicemen on board disappeared from radars on Monday as four Israeli F-16 warplanes were attacking state institutions in Syria's Latakia Province, which is home to Russia-run Hmeimim airbase.

Russia's Defense Ministry held Israel responsible for the incident, saying the regime's warplanes "created a dangerous situation" that led to the downing of the Russian aircraft by Syria's S-200 missile defense system.

It also noted that Israeli pilots had intentionally used the Russian plane as cover to conduct air raids, effectively putting it in the crosshairs of the Syrian air defenses.

The Russian embassy in Tel Aviv said the actions of the Israeli air force were "irresponsible and unfriendly" and exposed the Il-20 aircraft to danger.

Additionally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blamed Tel Aviv for the tragic deaths of Russian servicemen, stressing that the "unfortunate incident" was a result of "Israeli arrogance and depravity."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a thorough investigation into the plane crash.

Earlier this week, an Israeli delegation led by Amikam Norkin, the regime's air force commander, visited Moscow to brief Russian officials on Tel Aviv's initial investigation into the incident.

The Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday that the Russians had not accepted Israel's findings, which considered Damascus responsible for the tragedy, and called on Tel Aviv to launch a new probe into the matter.

Cypriot media outlets reported on Thursday that Russia had closed areas near Cyprus to air, land and sea movement for almost a week for the sake of counter-terrorism military operations. Sources in Israel also confirmed the report.

Russian jets have been conducting air raids against Daesh and other terror outfits inside Syria at the Damascus government's request since September 2015.

The strikes have helped Syrian forces advance against anti-Damascus militants, who have been wreaking havoc in the Arab country since 2011.

On the contrary, Israel frequently attacks military targets in Syria in what is considered as an attempt to prop up militant groups that have been suffering heavy defeats against Syrian government forces.

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