Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Syria intercepts missiles headed for Latakia: State media

Syria intercepts missiles headed for Latakia: State media

In a statement to Business Insider, a US Central Command spokesman did not comment on where the strikes originated from but denied US forces were involved.

"Connection has been lost with the crew of a Russian Il-20 plane over the Mediterranean Sea 35 kilometres from the Syrian coast as it was returning to the Hmeimim airbase", the Russian defence ministry said early Tuesday.

The official also said that there were 14 servicemen on board and their fate is unknown. There is a search-and rescue mission underway.

Russia said the Israeli aircraft "pushed" the Russian plane into the line of fire. The plane's SLAR (Side-Looking Airborne Radar) and its satellite link allow the Russian military to monitor Syrian skies in real time.

The Russian military plane disappeared as four Israeli fighter jets were attacking targets in the area, Moscow said.

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Russian defence ministry said that Russian airspace controls means have detected several missile launches from French frigate in Mediterranean late on Monday.

The fate of those on board is still unclear, but a USA official told CNN that Syrian government forces had mistakenly shot down the Il-20 plane during the Israeli attack.

The Technical Industry Institution on the outskirts of Latakia was reportedly targeted in the alleged Israeli attack.

"Air defences have confronted enemy missiles coming from the sea in the direction of the Latakia city, and intercepted a number of them", SANA quoted a military source as saying.

The Israeli military said: "We don't comment on foreign reports".

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The strikes followed a similar attack on Damascus International Airport late on Saturday, which Syrian state media also blamed on Israel. Almost half an hour later, it said the strikes continued.

The deal marked a significant agreement between the two leaders and effectively delays an offensive by Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies, one that Turkey fears would create a humanitarian crisis near its border.

Israel is alleged to have been behind a series of airstrikes mainly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria that have joined the country's war fighting alongside the government.

The strikes came within hours of Russia and Turkey announcing a joint agreement to forestall a Russian-backed government offensive in the northwestern province of Idlib that had threatened to trigger a major Western intervention and a potential confrontation between the world's two major nuclear powers, the United States and Russia.

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