Syria's Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane

The Latest: Russia says Syrian missile brought down aircraft

After Russian Military Aircraft Shot Down Near Syria, Russian Claims Israel 'Deliberately Staged This Provocation'

However following anger among Russia's military brass and threats of "retaliation", Putin "reminded" Netanyahu that such operations "violated Syrian sovereignty" and said "agreements around the prevention of risky incidents were not observed", according to the Kremlin.

Israel's air force commander was set to lead a delegation to Moscow on Thursday (Sep 20) to share the military's findings on the Syrian downing of a Russian warplane following Israeli air strikes.

According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov, the Russian transport plane was shot down Monday night, local time, as Israel F-16's attempted to use it as cover while carrying out a bombing mission against targets in the Latakia region of western Syria near the Meditarranean coast. Then, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the Il-20 disappeared off the radars during airstrikes delivered by four Israeli F-16 fighter jets on the Syrian targets in Latakia province.

In recent months Israel has increased its attacks in Syria against the regime or its ally Iran.

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The Israeli military said its fighter jets were targeting a Syrian military facility near Latakia involved in providing weapons for Iran's Lebanese proxy Hezbollah and has insisted it warned Russian Federation of the coming raid in accordance with deconfliction agreements.

Israel denied the allegations, saying its jets were already back in its airspace when Syrian forces launched the missiles that hit the Russian plane.

"We are determined that such tragic events will sway neither you nor us from continuing the fight against terrorism", he added in the letter published by the official Sana news agency.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express his condolences and offered to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report.

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The statement from the Russian embassy came as Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman blamed "irresponsible and unprofessional" Syrian air defense operators for downing the Russian surveillance plane.

Russian defence ministry channel TV Zvezda reported the semi-automatic weapon Putin fired is "an ultra-modern rifle for Russian snipers".

The incident, according to Agence France-Presse, "was the worst case of friendly fire between the two allies since Russia's game-changing military intervention in September 2015".

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