The Russian aircraft that crashed into the Syrian equation
It was announced on Monday night that a Russian aircraft crashed “by accident in friendly fire”. This “accident” created a crisis between Moscow and Tal Aviv. Syria downed the aircraft. Israel blamed Tehran and Damascus. Moscow is angry.
Israeli fighter jets bombed targets near Latakia on Monday evening. At the time, a Russian scouting aircraft was fired at while flying over the Mediterranean and crashed. 15 Russian soldiers died.
Shortly afterwards, it was revealed that the aircraft was downed “by accident” by Syrian air defense systems attempting to stop Israeli missiles. The incident caused tensions between Israel and Russia, and went down in history as the gravest incident between the Damascus regime and their ally Russia.
ASSAD BLAMED ISRAEL
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad issued a statement on Wednesday and held Israel responsible for the downing of the aircraft. Assad sent a letter of condolence to Russian President Vladimir Putin and said, “This unfortunate incident was caused by the arrogance and immorality of Israel.”
In the letter published in the Sanaa news agency, Assad said: “We believe that such tragic incidents won’t keep neither us nor you from continuing with the fight against terrorism.”
ISRAELI COMMITTEE EN ROUTE TO MOSCOW
Israel, holding the Syrian regime and Iran responsible for the incident, formed a committee to visit Moscow to relieve the tensions between Israel and Russia. Israeli Air Force Commander General Amikam Norkin said the committee will submit a report that covers the incident that occurred on Monday night from all aspects.
PUTIN SOFTENS TENSIONS: “TRAGIC COINCIDENTAL CONDITIONS”
In their first statements, Russian officials said Israeli fighter jets hid behind the Russian aircraft and that Israel was fully responsible for the downing of the aircraft. Vladimir Putin later issued a statement and used the phrase, “a tragic chain of coincidental conditions”.
Putin held a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said such operations by the Israeli Air Force violate Syria’s sovereignty.
Netanyahu stated his sorrow for the death of 15 soldiers, but added that they will remain ready to take action against Iran in Syria. Israel has increased their attacks against the regime and their ally Iran in Syria in recent months.
ISRAEL SAYS RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT WASN’T IN THE OPERATION ZONE
Israel accuses Iran of using Syria as leverage against Israel. According to Israeli media, the committee to visit Moscow will also present information that Iran continues to transfer strategic arms to Hezbollah.
The Israeli state has denied allegations that Israeli jets were hiding behind the Russian scouting aircraft and argued that the Russian aircraft was not in the operation zone. According to Tal Aviv, the Russian aircraft was shot after the Israeli jets returned to their base.
In the aftermath of these bilateral accusations and statements, there remains many unanswered questions. How and under what conditions the aircraft was downed remains a complicated issue. Why did Israel attack? Where was the Russian aircraft? Was it an “accident” that the aircraft was shot? And, what was Iran doing during all this chaos?