Russian Federation blames France for downing plane near Syria as rockets hit Latakia

Syrian government sources said that the attacks came from the Mediterranean Sea, where both the United States and Russian Federation have built up naval forces in recent weeks amid rising tensions in Syria.

The reconnaissance aircraft was on its way to the Khmeimim airbase and was about 35km from the Syrian coast when it disappeared, the Russian defence ministry said.

"The tracking of the Il-20 on flight control radars disappeared during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian facilities in Latakia Province", it said.

The Russian defence ministry also said that rockets had been launched from the French Navy's frigate, The Auvergne, which was in the area at the time.

The fate of the 14 people on board the missing plane is unknown, and a rescue operation has been organised out of the Hmeymim base, the ministry said.

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Missiles had been fired from the sea at several locations in the Syrian coastal city of Latakia on Monday but were intercepted by air defences, Syrian state media had said, before the downing of the plan was reported.

Earlier this month, an Israeli military official said the Jewish state has struck over 200 Iranian targets in Syria over the past 18 months.

In an attempt to strike back against the Israelis, the Syrians launched extensive anti-aircraft fire, the official said and the Russian aircraft was hit.

He said the site on the eastern outskirts of Latakia belonged to government forces, but added it was unclear whether the depots were being used by regime troops or those of key ally Iran.

On Sept. 17, 2018, CNN, citing an unnamed USA government official, reported that the US military believed Syrian surface-to-air missiles had brought down the Il-20.

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Earlier, state media reported another suspected Israeli attack on Damascus's global airport late on September 15.

Predominating among these forces is Tahrir al-Sham, a coalition of Islamist militias led by the group formerly known as the Al Nusra Front, Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate. Another source from Syrian military said that the missile attack on Latakia was made from the sea.

Putin told a press conference that the agreement provided for the withdrawal from Idlib of "all radical fighters", including Al Nusra, and the removal from the demilitarized zone of all "heavy weaponry".

"The missiles were not fired by the USA military and we have nothing further at this time", he said.

"Regime forces and military personnel" are said to be among the wounded.

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