A Russian military aircraft with 14 people on board disappeared from radar screens over Syria at the same time that Israeli and French forces were mounting aerial attacks on targets in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry has stated.
Israel had notified Russia about its operation in Syria via hotline a minute before the strike, which did not allow enough time for the Il-20 aircraft to make it to the safe zone, the Russian Defense Ministry stated.
Israel’s Embassy in Moscow has refused to comment on Russian Military’s statement on Il-20 crash.
“We deny any involvement,” spokesman for the French military Colonel Patrik Steiger said responding to the accusations.
The United States believes that the plane, an Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft, was accidentally shot down by friendly fire from Syrian anti-aircraft artillery, a US official reportedly noted.
On September 17, at about 11 p.m. Moscow time [20:00 GMT], communication with the crew of the aircraft was lost when it was over the Mediterranean Sea returning to Hmeymim Airbase, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
In addition, Russian radar registered missile launches from the French frigate Auvergne, which was in the area.
Earlier the same day, Syrian media reported a missile attack on the Syrian city of Latakia.
Russia, along with Turkey and Iran, is a guarantor of the ceasefire regime in Syria.
Moscow has also been providing humanitarian aid to residents of the crisis-torn country.