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A Russian military aircraft with 14 people on board vanished from radar screens over Syria at the same time as Israeli and French forces were launching strikes on targets in Syria, Russia’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.
Axar.az reports citing Reuters.
A U.S. official said Washington believed the aircraft, an Il-20 turbo-prop plane used for electronic reconnaissance, was inadvertently shot down by anti-aircraft artillery operated by Moscow’s ally, the Syrian government.
Around the time the plane disappeared, the Syrian coastal city of Latakia — near a Russian airbase to which the Il-20 was returning — came under attack from “enemy missiles”, and missile defense batteries responded, Syrian state media reported.
France denied any involvement in the plane’s disappearance.
The defense ministry in Moscow said the aircraft was returning to the Russian-run Hmeymim airbase when, at about 11:00 p.m. Moscow time (20:00 GMT) on Monday, it lost radar contact.
The plane was over the Mediterranean Sea about 35 km (20 miles) from the Syrian coastline, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.
“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.
“At the same time Russian air control radar systems detected rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne which was located in that region”.
2018.09.18 / 12:33