Russian Federation blames Israel for shootdown of military jet over Syria

Fears Israel or France has shot-down Russian spy plane during raid on Syria

Russian IL-20 Surveillance Plane Went Down Off Syrian Coast During Israeli Missile Barrage

A Russian military plane is shot down off the coast of Syria, killing 15. The Syrian air force had simultaneously been responding to Israeli fighter jets that were mounting air attacks on targets in the coastal region of Latakia.

The Russian military said the plane was hit 35 kilometers (22 miles) offshore late Monday night as it was returning to the Russian air base in Syria.

"The Israeli pilots were using the Russian aircraft as a shield and pushed it into the line of fire of the Syrian defense", Ministry spokesman Maj.

The Russian military said Israel notified the Russian side about the planned operation only a minute in advance, and that Israeli controllers would have seen the Russian plane, which was coming in to land, RIA reported.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said also expressed "sorrow" over the Russian deaths, and said it showed "the danger of tragic miscalculation in Syria's crowded theatre of operations".

Any dispute between Israel and Russian Federation could crimp Israel's ability to carry out air strikes inside Syria on what it sees as the greatest threat to its security from the war - build-ups of Iranian forces or groupings of the Shi'ite Hezbollah militia. "As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian service personnel perished".

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Russia, the biggest outside backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad in his fight against rebels, has been preparing for an offensive on the city of Idlib, which is controlled by rebels and now home to about 3 million people.

Civilians in Idlib want to know if this is a temporary arrangement or the first step toward completely removing the threat of military action, said Lowcock. The Russian Ministry said the meeting was to do with the loss of the Russian plane.

The Israel military said that overnight its fighter jets had "targeted a facility of the Syrian armed forces from which systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons were about to be transferred on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon".

The incident triggered testy exchanges of blame between Israel and Russian Federation.

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.

He said the agreement to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib "should avert a full-scale military operation and provide reprieve for millions of civilians", a United Nations statement said. For one thing the air campaign in Syria is seen by Israel as a vital strategic necessity to thwart, as they see it, Iran's growing influence.

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Israel has warned that it will not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence in postwar Syria.

The Israeli military said that hotline with Russian Federation was in operation and that it would share with Russian Federation all the data at its disposal.

Turkey's top diplomat says an agreement reached with Russian Federation over the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib ensures the continuity of Syria's moderate opposition.

The incident occurred on the same day that Russian Federation announced a joint agreement with Turkey to create a demilitarized zone in Syria's Idlib province, which neighbors Latakia, potentially thwarting a large-scale military operation and impending humanitarian disaster in the country's last rebel stronghold.

Lowcock said that any screening to distinguish civilians from fighters should be undertaken in accordance with worldwide law and with "humane treatment".

"I think that the discussions that they're having lead us down a path of the potential that we're going to get something less kinetic", Ashley said.

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