Syria’s Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane

Il-20 aircraft crash: Putin defuses crisis situation after Russian Defense Ministry blames Syria

Despite calling it a "friendly fire" incident, the Defense ministry held Israel responsible. 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.

"We hope that this agreement is expeditiously implemented", Staffan de Mistura, the U.N.'s special envoy for Syria, reportedly told the global body's security council. "As a result of countermeasures to the Israeli attack, the Syrian air defense troops brought down the Ilyushin-20". Russian specialists were restoring equipment, local teachers were taught and retrained, gratuitous deliveries of components, spare parts and equipment from the presence in domestic arsenals were flowing from the Russian Federation via the so-called "Syrian Express".

Israel gave warning on a hotline set up with Russia "less than one minute before the strike", Konashenkov continued, "which left no chance for getting the Russian plane to safety".

On Wednesday, Nasrallah denied that the target of the Israeli strikes was weapons shipments bound for his group, and accused Israel of using Iran and Hezbollah as an "excuse" while really aiming to degrade Syria's military capabilities. From Tel Aviv's perspective, Israel can not tolerate such a threat.

"These weapons were meant to attack Israel, and posed an intolerable threat against it", it stressed.

Iran's foreign minister has hailed an agreement between Turkey and Russian Federation to avert an assault on the Syrian rebel-held Idlib province, as an example of "responsible diplomacy".

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Nasrallah also commended the outcome of a summit on Idlib hosted by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and attended by his Turkish and Russian counterparts earlier this month in Tehran. However, it was "extensive and inaccurate" Syrian ground fire that downed the Russian plane. There was reportedly 14 military personnel on board of IL-20. Turkish tanks and other military vehicles had already been dispatched to the south of the province, an area where Russian and Syrian airplanes had carried out strikes. "The Syrian anti-air batteries fired indiscriminately and from what we understand, did not bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air".

Before the latest incident, Russian Federation had lost at least seven warplanes and seven combat helicopters in Syria and also had seen dozens of troops killed in ground combat. The Russian government stressed that the incident would have no impact on the fledging Idlib deal, but warned Israel of reprisals and summoned its envoy in Moscow. The Kremlin added, "The president of Russian Federation urged the Israeli side not to allow such situations from now on".

"This is the first Russian casualty in the Israeli-Iranian war of attrition", Center for Naval Analyses analyst Michael Kofman told the National Interest.

The situation was extremely unpleasant: the Russian military adviser at the Syrian command post for some reason approved the launch of a long-range missile S-200 missile near our base Khmeimim, which has an official range of 250 km and a real range of over 300 km. "The glue binding this gentleman's agreement - the Putin-Netanyahu personal relationship - will likely tide this issue over for the time being". Right now, that response seems to be aimed at securing its forces.

The deal to avoid a Syrian government offensive on Idlib province is still being worked out by Russian Federation and Turkey, the United Nations said Thursday, stressing that the threat to civilians remained high.

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