Moscow blames downing of Russian plane near Syria on Israeli “provocation”

Tensions remain high in Syria after the downing of a Russian Il-20 electronic intelligence plane and the killing of all 15 crew members aboard during a major Israeli airstrike against the Syrian port city of Latakia Monday night.

The attack on Latakia, a government stronghold and the site of Russia’s major military base in the country, represented a dangerous escalation of the war in Syria, which the Israelis almost certainly carried out in consultation with Washington.

Tel Aviv claimed that its strike was motivated by intelligence that weapons located there were being transferred from Iran to the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah. A more powerful underlying motive, however, is the frustration of US imperialism and its allies, Israel and the NATO powers, over the increasing consolidation of control over Syria by the Russian-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad and the failure of the Al Qaeda-linked militias that they backed in a proxy war for regime change.

The Russian Ministry of Defense Tuesday acknowledged that its plane had been hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, but placed blame for the incident squarely on what it termed a “provocation” and “hostile” act on the part of Israel.

The Russian turboprop plane was returning to the Russian-run Hmeymim airbase, when it went off the radar screens in the midst of an attack by four Israeli F-16 fighter jets against Syrian defense industry facilities in Latakia.

“The Israeli pilots were using the Russian aircraft as a shield and pushed it into the line of fire of the Syrian defense,” Igor Konashenkov, the Russian defense ministry spokesperson, said on Tuesday.

Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Konashenkov as describing Israel’s military strike as “hostile” and “an act of provocation,” warning, “We reserve the right to take commensurate measures in response.”

This response was echoed by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who declared that the “blame for the downing of the Russian plane and the deaths of its crew members lies squarely on the Israeli side.” He added, “The actions of the Israeli military were not in keeping with the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership, so we reserve the right to respond.”

By Bill Van Auken 
19 September 2018
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OΛΑ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗ !!!: Moscow blames downing of Russian plane near Syria on Israeli “provocation”
Moscow blames downing of Russian plane near Syria on Israeli “provocation”
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