Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Russia Says Military Jet With 14 Aboard Vanishes From Radar Off Syria

Russia Says Military Jet With 14 Aboard Vanishes From Radar Off Syria

Russia's Defence Ministry says it lost contact with the IL-20 aircraft near its Hmeimim Airbase in Syria.

The Israelis had fired multiple missiles against targets in the coastal area of Latakia where Russian has based much of its military presence, including aircraft.

The state media reported that missiles targeted Latakia and Homs and Hama.

The fate of those on board is still unclear, but a USA official told CNN that Syrian government forces had mistakenly shot down the Il-20 plane during the Israeli attack.

The news of the plane's disappearance surfaced shortly after Syria announced its air defense system had shot down several missiles fired from the sea, targeting state technical industry institutions in Latakia.

Russia's defence ministry said early on Tuesday that one if its military aircraft with 14 people on board disappeared from radar screens over Syria at the same time that Israeli and French forces were mounting aerial attacks in Syria.

RT.com also quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying Russian radars "registered the launch of missiles from a French frigate in the Mediterranean on the evening of September 17". The command of Russia's air base at Khmeimim launched a search and rescue operation.

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 Industry Institution".

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A second US official told CNN that the incident occurred during an Israeli attack on sites in Syria.

According to military sources the Syrian province of Latakia was subjected to a missile attack coming from the direction of the sea.

"The tracking of the Il-20 on flight control radars disappeared during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian facilities in Latakia Province", it said.

This month, Israel acknowledged having carried out more than 200 strikes in war-ravaged Syria over the past 18 months, mainly against Iranian targets.

France and Israel have yet to comment on the Russian statement.

It is unclear whether the Israeli military notified Russian Federation ahead of Monday night's attack in Latakia.

Explosions continued for almost a half hour, said state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV, which aired footage showing streaks of white light flashing across the sky.

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