Syria's Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane


The aircraft, which was on its way back to the Russian-run Hmeimim air base, disappeared from the radar on Monday night at a time when four Israeli F-16 fighters attacked targets in Syria's Latakia province.

"No matter what you do to cut the route, the matter is over and the resistance possesses precision and non-precision rockets and weapons capabilities", Nasrallah said, addressing Israel in a broadcast speech.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday, stating that Israel is exclusively to blame for the downing of Russia's Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea.

Russia said the Israeli aircraft "pushed" the Russian plane into the line of fire.

Moscow criticized Israel for not providing advance warning of the raid and said the Israeli jets used the Russian plane to mask their approach.

At a news conference held hours after the incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin attributed the incident to "a series of tragic circumstances". It expressed "sorrow" for the Russian deaths, but insisted the Russian plane had been felled by "extensive and inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft (surface-to-air missile) fire".

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Putin was visiting a military-themed park called Patriot in the Moscow region where he laid the foundation stone for a Russian Orthodox Church.

The army said Norkin and his team would present Russian officials with "a full rundown of the event and all of its aspects, including the intelligence [that led to the strike] and the main findings of the IDF internal inquiry, as well as Iran's ongoing efforts to provide strategic weaponry to Hezbollah and establish itself in Syria". It was during this time that the Russian spy plane, with 15 people on board, was said to have been shot down.

On Wednesday, Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah said the Shiite movement would stay in Syria "until further notice".

The incident, according to Agence France-Presse, "was the worst case of friendly fire between the two allies since Russia's game-changing military intervention in September 2015".

As the war in Syria rages on, Turkey and Russian Federation announced on Monday a joint agreement that will at least forestall an expected large-scale on Syria's Idlib province, now the last area controlled by rebel military factions facing off against the Syrian government.