Syria mistakenly downs Russian plane as it repels alleged Israeli strike

An Israeli military spokesperson when asked about both the reported Israeli strike and the Russian plane said: "We don't comment on foreign reports".

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.

Earlier, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported that missiles were fired at several locations in Latakia late on September 17. The Syrian air defense network in western Syria is very densely populated with anti-aircraft missile and radar systems.

Earlier in the day, Russian Federation and Turkeyreached an agreement over a partial demilitarization of the Idlib province, which is the last remaining stronghold of anti-government insurgency and al-Qaeda-linked terror groups in Syria.

It came in the immediate wake of Monday's meeting in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, where the two heads of state announced an agreement to establish a jointly-patrolled "demilitarized zone" between Syrian government troops and the Western-backed "rebels" concentrated in Idlib province. Local sources say the target was an Organization for Technical Industries - a subdivision of the Syrian Ministry of Defense, linked to missile and chemical weapons development.

A French military source, however, denied any French involvement in disappearance of the Russian plane.

The news site said the plane is capable of monitoring Syrian skies in real time. But Israeli jets have struck Syria dozens of times in recent years, mostly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah positions.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government.

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A Pentagon spokesperson said the United States was not involved and declined to provide further details. The plane was 35 kilometers off the coast of Syria when it vanished.

After an airstrike in which USA and its allies fired over 100 missiles towards suspected chemical weapons facilities in April, Russian forces claimed the "high-effectiveness" of Russian-supplied weapons and "excellent training of Syrian servicemen" had shot down 71 missiles.

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

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 U.S. and Russia.

The zone will be established by October 15 and be 15 to 20 kilometres deep, with troops from Russian Federation and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey conducting coordinated patrols, President Vladimir Putin said after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi.

Russian Federation intervened in the Syrian conflict to buttress the Assad regime in 2015.

In November 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, triggering a severe crisis in ties with Moscow.

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