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Israel air force chief to give Moscow findings on plane downing

20 September, 2018, 10:54 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • The Latest: Russia says Syrian missile brought down aircraft

"On behalf of the Syrian people and by my name, we express our deep condolence over the fall of the Russian jet on the Mediterranean, causing the martyrdom of the Russian heroes who were doing their noble duties along with their colleagues of the Russian military forces in the fight against terrorism in Syria", al-Assad said.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday that Russian experts will study the data to be provided by the Israeli air force chief.

Monday's attack came just hours after Russian Federation and Turkey negotiated a partial demilitarization of the Idlib province, which is the last remaining stronghold of anti-government militants, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (also known as the Jabhat Al-Nusra).

"By using the Russian plane as cover the Israeli air pilots made it vulnerable to Syrian air defense fire".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered Russian Federation "all necessary information" to investigate.

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah militia said Wednesday his group may reduce the number of its fighters in Syria because of an easing of the conflict, particularly after a recent Russian-Turkey agreement that prevented an offensive on the last rebel stronghold.

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"Israel expresses sorrow for the death of the aircrew members of the Russian plane that was downed tonight due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire", the IDF said, and noted that the Russian plane that was hit "was not within the area of the operation".

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". Some 15 Russian servicemen were killed in the crash, causing a tiff between Russia and Israel, which had been coordinating Syria policy.

The target of the Israeli strike was identified by Syria as a subsidiary of its defense ministry, known as the Organization for Technical Industries, which has suspected ties to the country's chemical weapons and missile programs. These weapons were meant to attack Israel, and posed an intolerable threat against it.

In the early hours of Tuesday, Israeli F-16s entered Syrian airspace with a view to striking Syrian military targets in the northwestern Latakia province. The ministry accused the Israeli army of "intentional provocation" and said Israel did not warn Russian Federation of its operation in the area until one minute before the strike.

Israel, for its part, denied any responsibility, instead blaming Syria's Assad regime for the incident.

The analyst went on to assert that the shoot down incident would likely serve to enhance Russian-Israeli coordination in Syria.

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