Russian Federation blames Israel for downing of plane by Syrian forces

Clay Curtis
September 23, 2018

Shortly after the downing of the aircraft, a team of Israeli military officials, including its air force chief, rushed to present Russian Federation with their own version of how events had unfolded.

Israel will not cease operations in Syria, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced just before the Russian military published a detailed chronology of the downing of its Il-20, for which Moscow says Tel Aviv is to blame.

Moscow has accused Israel's fighter pilots of using the bigger Ilyushin as cover, causing Syria's Soviet-era S-200 air defence system to interpret the Russian plane as a target.

Israel blamed the incident on Syrian recklessness, while the Russian embassy in Israel said the Air Force's actions were "irresponsible and unfriendly" and exposed the downed plane to danger.

Syrian government forces mistook the Il-20 reconnaissance plane for an Israeli jet on a bombing mission and shot it down off Syria's northwestern province of Latakia on September 17, killing all 15 servicemen onboard. Gen. Igor Konashenkov speaks at a briefing in the Russian Defense Ministry building in Moscow, Russia. Then, "one minute" after Israel's call, its F-16 planes struck targets in Latakia in western Syria, he said. Russian Federation has said Syria shot the plane down shortly after Israeli jets hit a target in the area.

But the Israeli official said: "We definitely gave a warning, a time much longer than one minute".

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"The misleading (information) by the Israeli officer regarding the location of the strikes made it impossible to guide the Il-20 to a safe location", said Konashenkov.

"Our presentation showed that Syrian air defense teams recklessly and irresponsibly fired missiles after our fighter jets had already left the area, downing the Russian aircraft", he said.

"The safety and well being of the Russian forces stationed in Syria is.a Meaningful consideration when each strike is approved", stated the IDF spokesperson unit.

The Israeli military also noted that its delegation "presented the ongoing Iranian attempts to establish its military presence in Syria and to transfer strategic weapons to the Hezbollah terror organization".

The Israel Defense Forces said in a later statement that the country "will share all the relevant information with the Russian Government to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry".

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