U.S. Official: Syria Accidentally Downed Russian Aircraft with Personnel on Board

U.S. Official: Syria Accidentally Downed Russian Aircraft with Personnel on Board

The official also said that there were 14 servicemen on board and their fate is unknown.

The U.S. found out about the incident because Syrian forces broadcast an emergency search and rescue radio call on an global frequency.

Russia's military said Tuesday that one of its aircraft with 14 people on board has disappeared over Syria's Mediterranean Sea coast.

The report said some of the missiles were launched from sea and targeted Latakia, Homs and Hama.

CNN quoted the USA official as saying the Syrian army was actually trying to stop a barrage of Israeli missiles, and a second official confirmed that Israel was responsible for the missile strikes on the Syrian positions.

The Syrian government regularly accuses Israel of targeting its military positions.

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Earlier, state media reported another suspected Israeli attack on Damascus's worldwide airport late on September 15.

SANA news agency reported the Technical Industry Institution in the state-controlled city of Latakia had been targeted.

The aircraft was shot down by an anti-aircraft system the Russians sold to the Syrians several years ago, the official said.

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

They added that it was not immediately known who fired the missiles.

The sources also claimed the country's air defenses shot down a number of incoming missiles.

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However, a United States official with knowledge of the attack, dismissed Russia's claims and told CNN the maritime patrol aircraft was actually inadvertently shot down by the Syrian regime.

The jet vanished from radar just hours after Russian Federation said there would be no assault against Syria's Idlib as the presidents of Russian Federation and Turkey agreed to create a "demilitarised zone" in the rebel-held province.

Hotlines are in place for those countries to share operational information on their deployments, but diplomats and military planners say there is still a high risk of one state inadvertently striking another country's forces.

The zone will be established by October 15 and be 15-20 kilometres deep, with troops from Russian Federation and NATO-member Turkey conducting coordinated patrols, President Vladimir Putin said at the end of a more than three-hour meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi.

Putin said "radical militants" would have to withdraw from the zone.

Russia-backed forces of the Syrian government have massed around Idlib province in recent weeks, sparking fears of an imminent air and ground attack to retake the last major terrorist bastion.

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Russian Federation intervened in the Syrian conflict to buttress the Assad regime in 2015.

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