Russian military aircraft with 14 on board vanishes near Syria

Pauline Gross
September 18, 2018

A search and rescue mission is now underway.

Syria, Russia's ally in a prolonged proxy war in the region, claimed its air defenses "intercepted a number" of the missiles headed toward the city, Reuters reported on Monday, citing state-media.

Other attacks were reported on September 4 that targeted sites in the coastal Tartus area and in Hama province.

The Israeli military refused to comment on claims they were behind the attack on Syria.

Israel is widely believed to have been behind a series of airstrikes mainly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria that have joined the country's war fighting alongside the government. Some missiles hit parts of the city, according to local media, many of them were reportedly downed by Syrian air defense systems.

SANA added that it was not immediately known who fired the missiles, although suspicion will fall on Israel, which has launched frequent attacks on what it says are Iranian proxy forces in Syria.

Earlier this month, an Israeli military official said the Jewish state has struck over 200 Iranian targets in Syria over the past 18 months.

The Russian defence ministry also said that rockets had been launched from the French Navy's frigate, The Auvergne, which was in the area at the time.

"The French army denies any involvement in this attack", a French army spokesman said.

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A Pentagon spokesman said the United States was not involved and declined to provide further details.

A spokesman for the Pentagon told CNN that the missiles were not fired by the USA military but would not speak as to who was behind the strikes. A source told Sputnik that there were drones and missiles involved.

The United States believes that a Russian military aircraft has been inadvertently shot down by Syrian government anti-aircraft artillery, a U.S. official said.

The plane was over the Mediterranean Sea about 35 km from the Syrian coastline, Russia's TASS news agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.

"Regime forces and military personnel" are said to be among the wounded.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi.

Putin told a press conference that the agreement provided for the withdrawal from Idlib of "all radical fighters", including Al Nusra, and the removal from the demilitarized zone of all "heavy weaponry".

Russian Federation and the Syrian regime have previously boasted about their air defense capabilities.

Other reports by GizPress

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