Russian spy plane is shot down by Syrians

Larry Hoffman
September 19, 2018

The ministry threatened to retaliate over what it called a hostile act.

He said that it was a tragedy, but the incident "looks like a chain of tragic circumstances, because the Israeli plane didn't shoot down our jet". "But, without any doubt we need to seriously get to the bottom of what happened", Putin told reporters.

Russian Federation said it reserved the right to take "commensurate measures" against Israel in response.

Fifteen military personnel were killed in the attack, the defense ministry said.

On Monday, Putin said the demilitarized zone is to be established by October 15 and be 9 to 12 miles deep to separate Syrian forces and the rebels, with radical groups withdrawn from the area.

In a statement on Tuesday, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it holds Syria, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah responsible for the incident, in which 15 Russian crew members were killed.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon says that there will be no comment on what was discussed between Deputy Ambassador Keren Cohen-Gat and Russian officials.

While trust between the Russian and Israeli military will suffer as a result, the two countries "have a lot of common interests, especially in Syria", said Andrei Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council, a research group set up by the Kremlin.

James Jeffrey, the U.S. Special Representative for Syria, told the council "there will not be stability in Syria as long as Iran and its proxy forces remain", saying they must leave and can not dictate Syria's future.

It expressed "sorrow" for the Russian deaths, but insisted the Russian plane had been felled by "extensive and inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft (surface-to-air missile) fire".

The Russian military is accusing the Israelis of purposely using the Russian jet as cover to hide from the Syrian batteries.

Russian and Turkish troops are to enforce a new demilitarized zone in Syria's Idlib region from which "radical" rebels will be required to withdraw by the middle of next month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said the agreement came after consultation between Damascus and Moscow, which has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad since 2015, turning the tide of the civil war his forces were struggling to win.

For several years, Israel and Russian Federation have maintained a special hotline to prevent their air forces from clashing in the skies over Syria.

"Putin pointed to the fact that the Israeli air force has been conducting operations in breach of Syria's sovereignty".

Israel has acknowledged attacking Iranian targets some 200 times.

Pompeo said the incident underscores "the need to end Iran's transit of unsafe weapons systems through Syria".

The incident occurred at about 11 p.m. Monday local time as the Il-20 reportedly was returning to Hmeimim, the main Russian air base in Syria, near Latakia.

Moscow blamed Israel for putting its aircraft in the line of fire, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported. "Nevertheless, they deliberately carried out this provocation", Konashenkov said. "We reserve the right to take commensurate measures in response", he said, without giving details of what those measures would be.

"I think it will impose very serious restriction on Israel's freedom of activity", she said.

The spokesman said: "This absolutely does not correspond to the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership".

"During the strike against the target in Latakia, the Russian plane that was then hit was not within the area of the operation", a military statement said.

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