Report: Russia to Release Details on Downing of Plane Over Syria

Defense Ministry will include minute-by-minute timeline using radar data in report, Russian news agency TASS says, as Israel insists incident was not its fault

Jack Khoury
Haaretz
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File photo: A Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-20.
File photo: A Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-20.Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury
Haaretz

UPDATE: Russia: Israel to blame for downed plane over Syria, deliberately misled us

Russia's Defense Ministry will publish on Sunday a report detailing the circumstances surrounding the downing of the Russian aircraft last week over Syria, the TASS news agency reported.

"The minute-by-minute timeline of the tragedy will be given with a presentation of objective data from the radars’ data handling system about the air situation in Syria on September 17 and actions of Israel’s air force in the area of the crash," the ministry said, as quoted by TASS.

Fifteen Russian airmen were killed when the Ilyushin 20 airplane was mistakenly shot down by Syria's air defenses soon after an Israeli strike near the coastal Syrian city of Latakia. Israel blamed the incident on Syrian recklessness, while the Russian embassy in Israel said the Air Force's actions were "irresponsible and unfriendly" and exposed the downed plane to danger.

Lebanese news outlet Al-Mayadeen meanwhile reported that Russia plans to continue its closure of the airspace above Syria's territorial waters after the end of military exercises on September 26. According to the report, the decision to shut the airspace was made by Russia's National Security Council after the plane was shot down. Al-Mayadeen reported earlier this week that Russia had rejected Israel's findings regarding the incident.

>> Downing of Russian plane: Israel fears Putin will clip its wings in Syria | Analysis ■ Putin has little choice but to allow Israel to continue operating in Syria | Analysis ■ Putin now has leverage over Israel, and no reason to give it up

Israel does not usually comment on reports that it conducted airstrikes in Syria, but was forced to this week because of the incident.

An Israel Defense Forces delegation traveled Thursday to Moscow in an attempt to ease the tensions caused by the incident. The delegation, headed by the commander of the air force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, offered Russian Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Andrey Yudin their view of what transpired, including the information Israel had prior to its airstrike and the main findings of the IDF inquiry into the incident.

A senior military source said that the Israeli delegation presented Russia 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 statement said that the delegation presented maps, documents and a presentation showing a step-by-step breakdown of the incident.

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