Russia’s military aircraft shot down over Syria

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Russia’s military aircraft shot down over Syria

MOSCOW - Russia’s 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 on targets in Syria.

A US official said Washington believed the aircraft, which is an Il-20 turbo-prop plane used for electronic reconnaissance, was inadvertently shot down by anti-aircraft artillery operated by Moscow’s ally, the Syrian government.

Around the time the plane disappeared, the Syrian coastal city of Latakia — near a Russian airbase to which the Il-20 was returning — came under attack from “enemy missiles”, and missile defense batteries responded, Syrian state media reported.

The defense ministry in Moscow said the aircraft was returning to the Russian-run Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province when, at about 11:00 p.m. Moscow time (20:00 GMT) on Monday, it disappeared from radar screens.

The plane was over the Mediterranean Sea about 35 km (20 miles) from the Syrian coastline, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.