Russian Aircraft Shot Down by Syrian Forces

Ilyushin Il-20M. Photo by Kirill Naumenko.

“A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was shot down by Syria forces responding to an Israeli airstrike, killing all 15 people aboard,” the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

As counterparts in Moscow are blaming Israel, the AP says, Putin appears to be ‘seeking to defuse’ the Russian downed plane.

“But Putin took a more cautious tone, describing the incident as “a chain of tragic accidental circumstances.” At the same time, he said Russia will respond by “taking additional steps to protect our servicemen and assets in Syria.”

Israel has avoided taking sides in the Syrian conflict and has, until now, refrained from acknowledging they carry out airstrikes on what they consider a “military entrenchment” of the Iranian Shiite proxy Hezbollah operating in Syria in an effort to disrupt “shipments of Iranian weapons to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces,” the BBC reported, and in a rare move have admitted to carrying out over 200 airstrikes.

Russia, according to the AP report, entered into the Syrian ‘civil war’ in 2015 in a “dramatic entry” to support Syria’s President Bashar Assad in what they considered a response to a year’s long campaign by the “U.S. and its allies against the Islamic State group increased the possibility of dangerous confrontations over Syria.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “maintained warm personal ties with Putin,” traveling to Russia for talks focused on Syria, and the two have entered into a “gentleman’s agreement” in what they are calling a “de-conflict agreement” with Putin “granting Israeli jets freedom to strike targets in Syria at will, on the condition that a sufficiently early warning is provided to Russia,” according to “Syria expert” Charles Lister with the Middle East Institute based in Washington, while Russia plays a “delicate diplomatic game of maintaining friendly relations with both Israel and Iran.”

On Monday night the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) maintains they “followed well-established protocols in communicating with Moscow” in their planned airstrike targeted against a Syrian military facility in the province of Latakia who were “providing weapons for Iran’s Hezbollah … and warned Russia of the coming raid in line with de-confliction agreements,” saying their planes were already back in Israeli airspace when the Russian reconnaissance aircraft disappeared off the radar.

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry claims “the Israeli warning came less than a minute before the strike, leaving the Russian aircraft in the line of fire,“ the AP reported, with Russian’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, calling his counterpart in Israel Avigdor Lieberman, “to declare that “the Israel bears full responsibility,” warning Lieberman that Russia “reserves the right to retaliate.”

However, the IDF place blame squarely on the Assad regime for firing indiscriminately, and on Iran and Hezbollah. The IDF issued a series of statements on their Twitter media account to express sorrow for the unfortunate incident.

Israel Defense Forces
@ IDFSpokesperson
September 18, 2918

According to a CNN report the Russian aircraft was shot down by Syrian air defenses using the A-200 surface-to-air missiles, which are Soviet 1960’s era air defenses.

On A Side Note (Opinion)

Click on the IDF’s tweet to read the full thread of their statements.

Is it just me, but since when did Russia only enter into this Syria civil war in 2015? Maybe that is when they entered with their “dramatic” flare ‘officially’ as seems to be the revisionist history going on, but they’ve been involved in Syria’s “civil war” since its inception, what 2010, or before, I posit since 2007-08, as they’ve been in there doing what they do best, stirring up their own trouble? I mean, how do people square all this. Russia is playing all sides against the middle. He is just chummy with everyone it seems, playing Iran against Israel, Syrians against each other, comes out in a “dramatic” entrance against the U.S. who goes after ISIS. Seems Russia is the common denominator keeping this going on for how long now?

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