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Syria “accidentally” shot down a Russian military aircraft

Photo from www.aljazeera.com

Photo from www.aljazeera.com

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This past Tuesday, September 18th, Syria put one of Russia’s military airplanes in its line of fire. Russian state media said Syrian missiles shot the patrol aircraft down during an attack by Israeli jets in the Latakia region of northwest Syria.

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesperson for the Russian military said, “As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian servicemen were killed, which is absolutely not in keeping with the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership.” Israel expressed “sorrow” for the loss of the Russian servicemen, but blamed the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The IDF said that it had followed the correct cautionary protocols while communicating with Moscow, which were established to ensure no incidents like this would occur. However, Putin attempted to defuse the situation later on Tuesday by saying the downing was likely part of “a chain of tragic chance events, because an Israeli aircraft did not shoot down our aircraft”.

Russia publicly deployed military police to the Golan Heights frontier between Syria and Israel last month because of heightened tensions in the area. The deployment of advanced Russian air defense systems to Syria has also raised concerns about the safety of Israeli forces acting in the area.

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