Israel blames Syria for Russian aircrew deaths but 'expresses sorrow'

israel says Syria is to blame for the deaths of 15 Russian aircrew shot down by Syrian forces after israel launched an air raid on the city of Latakia.

Israel “expressed sorrow” for the deaths but blamed “extensive and inaccurate” Syrian anti-aircraft fire.

The Il-20 plane was downed over the Mediterranean Sea on Monday evening.

Russia initially blamed “irresponsible” Israeli actions, but President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday it was “a chain of tragic accidental circumstances”.

Russia is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.

What has Israel said?

In a rare statement detailing its operations over Syria, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said: “Israel expresses sorrow for the deaths of the aircrew members of the Russian plane that was downed due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire.

Israel holds the Assad regime, whose military shot down the Russian plane, fully responsible for this incident.”

The statement also laid blame on Iran and the Lebanese Shia militant group, Hezbollah, two other allies of the Syrian government.

The Israeli government is concerned by what it calls Iran’s “military entrenchment” in Syria, as well as shipments of Iranian weapons to the Hezbollah.

The IDF said its jets were targeting Syrian military facilities “from which systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons were about to be transferred on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon”.

The statement also addressed a Russian allegation that Israeli…

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