U.S. source reports Russian aircraft was shot down by ground-to-air defensive missile originally meant to thwart suspected Israeli attack on weapons’ depot on the eastern outskirts of Latakia.
Russia’s Defense Ministry on Monday said one of its planes carrying 14 people on board “disappeared from the radar during the Israeli attack” after Syria’s state media reported that its air defenses had engaged a barrage of rockets fired from the ocean.
According to the statement radars also recorded the launch of missiles from a French frigate stationed in the Mediterranean.
US officials speaking on condition of anonymity claimed the Russian plane was shot down by the Syrian air defenses trying to thwart a suspected Israeli airstrike.
Local reports suggested similar attacks were underway in Tartus, another city on the Mediterranean coast, although this was not immediately confirmed by state media.
The reports did not attribute blame for the apparent strikes, but internal groups fighting the Syrian government have no known capability to launch missiles from the sea.
Another state-run TV channel blamed Israel for the attack, according to the Associated Press.
Syrian state television broadcast scenes that showed a dark night sky lit up by a flashes of light lasting several minutes.
Head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that “violent explosions were caused by missiles targeting ammunition depots in the technical industries institute.”
He said the site on the eastern outskirts of Latakia belonged to government forces, but added it was unclear whether the depots were being used by regime troops or those of key ally Iran.
The Syrian government regularly accuses Israel of targeting its military positions.
On Saturday an Israeli missile attack targeted Syria’s capital airport, SANA said, activating air defenses which shot down a number of the projectiles.
An image provided to i24NEWS by PlanetLabs, a satellite imagery company, showed damage to the airport’s military apron next to a cargo flight that had recently landed from Tehran, according to flight tracking data.
Syrian state media on September 4 said its air defenses had downed several Israeli missiles in the coastal province of Tartus and in central Hama.
This month, Israel acknowledged having carried out more than 200 strikes in war-ravaged Syria over the past 18 months, mainly against Iranian targets.
It has also admitted to striking Syria to prevent what it says are deliveries of advanced weaponry to Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia, which fights alongside Syrian troops and is an arch-foe of Israel.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday that some 140 Iranians and their allies have been killed in suspected Israeli air strikes over the last five months.
Syria’s conflict erupted in 2011 and has since killed more than 360,000 people, with millions more displaced internally and to neighboring countries.
(Staff with AFP)
View original i24NEWS publication at: