Russian Federation says 'misled' by Israel in plane downing over Syria

Frederick Owens
September 23, 2018

An Israeli report presents a detailed description of the events leading up to Syria shooting down a Russian spy plane, which occurred when Assad's forces responded to an Israeli airstrike.

A senior military source said that the Israeli delegation presented Russian Federation with "operational and intelligence details regarding Iran's entrenchment in Syria, the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah, and the information the IDF possessed about depots in Latakia that led to Israel's attack".

An Israeli military delegation led by Air Force Chief Major General Amikam Norkin provided Russia with a report saying that Syria's indiscriminate air defense fire was the cause of the downing of a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft, a senior Israeli army official said at a briefing for foreign reporters on Friday.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a later statement that the country "will share all the relevant information with the Russian Government to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry". Israeli military officials have previously praised the hotline's effectiveness.

"The meetings were held in good spirits and the representatives shared a professional, open and transparent discussion on various issues", the Israeli military said. "The IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) will continue to implement our strategic interests", the official said.

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In the report, Israel noted that Syria has become much more aggressive with its response to Israeli airstrikes, with the May 10 "Operation House of Cards" against more than 50 Iranian targets across Syria being met with approximately 170 Syrian anti-aircraft missiles.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday presented its latest findings on the Il-20's downing, laying the blame squarely on Israel. It accused the Israeli military of deliberately using the Russian plane as a cover to dodge Syrian defenses and threatened to retaliate.

While the Russian Defense Ministry blamed the plane's loss on Israel, Putin quickly sought to defuse tensions Tuesday, pointing at "a chain of tragic accidental circumstances".

Israel says it was targeting a Syrian military facility where weapons manufacturing systems were "about to be transferred on behalf of Iran" to Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah. In July, Moscow struck a deal with Tehran to keep its fighters 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the Golan Heights to accommodate Israeli security concerns.

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