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The Il-20 aircraft with 14 people on board went off radar yesterday at about 8pm United Kingdom time on its way back to a Russian base near the city of Latakia.

The United States believes that a Russian military aircraft has been inadvertently shot down by Syrian government anti-aircraft artillery, a U.S. official said.

A USA official had said Washington believed the aircraft, which was used for electronic reconnaissance, was inadvertently shot down by anti-aircraft artillery operated by Moscow's ally, the Syrian regime.

The Israeli Air Force launched their surprise night attack on Latakia in a way that put the Russian plane in harm's way, the Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down by a Syrian missile over the Mediterranean, killing all 15 people on board, the Russian defense ministry said Tuesday.

Israel does not regularly comment on alleged strikes in Syria.

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An unidentified military official was quoted as saying Syrian air defences intercepted some missiles heading for the provincial capital of Latakia from the sea.

Russia's Defense Ministry blamed Israel Tuesday for the loss of an aircraft over Syria's Mediterranean coast, saying it was downed after Israeli pilots used it as cover during an attack.

A US Central Command spokesman said the United States did not carry out any strikes in that part of Syria on Monday.

Syrian officials have so far not commented.

"The blame for the downing of the Russian plane and the deaths of its crew members lies squarely on the Israeli side", Shoigu said.

Russian Federation said Israel did not warn it of its operation in the area until one minute before the strike.

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Hmeimim is Russia's main base for air strikes on rebel groups in Syria - strikes that have enabled President Assad's forces to recover much lost ground in the. Israeli military officials have previously praised its effectiveness.

Putin said the two leaders agreed to create a 15-20 kilometre-wide demilitarised zone along the line of contact between rebels and regime troops by October 15. This from a United States government whose own operations in Syria and Iraq over the past two years have claimed tens of thousands of lives and turned millions into refugees.

A search operation has been launched from the Russian Hmeymim airbase which has been at the heart of Moscow's hugely effective air support of forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Israel rarely acknowledges attacks inside Syria.

Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said, "We reserve the right to take commensurate measures in response".

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