The Il-20, used for electronic reconnaissance, went off radar 22 miles away from the coast over the Mediterranean as it was returning to Russia’s Hmeimim base near the city of Latakia. The fate of the 14 military personnel on board is ‘unknown’, Russia said. Search-and-rescue source told the Interfax news agency that the Russian warplane could have sunk in the Mediterranean Sea as a result of an ‘unforeseen critical incident’ in the air. But a US official with knowledge of the incident told CNN that the patrol aircraft was inadvertently shot down by Syrian regime anti-aircraft weapons. This was during an attempt to stop Israeli airstrikes on Syrian targets, the official added.
Moscow on Sunday blamed Israel for the downing by Syrian anti-aircraft fire of a Russian spy plane during an Israeli air raid in Syria last week, saying its military had been misled by the Israel Defense Forces about the time and location of the airstrike.
In a press briefing, the Russian defense ministry rejected the findings of the IDF about the incident and insisted that the Israeli pilots who conducted the raid on a Syrian military facility in Latakia used the Russian reconnaissance aircraft as cover during their assault — something Israel has repeatedly denied.