BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:45 P.M.) – Press Secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin Dmitry Peskov stated in Moscow on Monday that the loss of a Russian IL-20 jet over Syria would “not affect it in any way” the agreement reached between Russia and Turkey over the Syrian demilitarisation zone.
“This is an important ground-breaking agreement, a lifechanging one, regarding the future of Syria. It confirmed that Moscow and Ankara are able to reach a compromise and effective decisions according to the goal, which is to settle [the conflict] through diplomacy,” Peskov said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Monday that Russia and Turkey have agreed to establish a demilitarised zone in Idlib by 15 October, along the contact line of the armed opposition and the Syrian army.
The press secretary was not willing “give any assessments right now” regarding the incident. “The actions [of the Israeli Air Force] were unequivocally declared provocative. So there is no need to add anything to such a clear statement made by our defence body,” he said.
The Russian Defence Ministry stated on Tuesday that a Russian Il-20 jet was downed by the Syrian Air Defence Forces after an Israeli F-16 used it as cover during its missile attack on Syrian targets. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, four Israeli F-16 fighter jets attacked Syrian targets near the Latakia city on Monday evening, after approaching them from the Mediterranean Sea.
The Israeli Defense Forces tweeted the following: “Israel expresses sorrow for the death of the aircrew members of the Russian plane that was downed tonight due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire. Israel holds the Assad regime, whose military shot down the Russian plane, fully responsible for this incident.”
The Syrian government is yet to comment.