A Syrian Technical Institution, located in the outskirts of the coastal-city of Latakia, was subject to a missile attack last night, in a second such incident – reported in less than 48 hours – that was attributed to Israel. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, in what appeared to be a coordinated attack, French frigates and four Israeli F-16 fighter-jets launched dozens of missiles “on Syrian targets in the province of Latakia.” A Russian statement, which was confirmed to TV7 by Syrian military sources, claimed that surface-to-air anti-rocket defense systems managed to intercept “a number” of the incoming missiles, which were fired from the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to the attempts to intercept the incoming missiles, the Syrian air defense batteries “sought to intercept a number of Israeli fighter-jets,” yet the attempts were unsuccessful. Rather, U.S. military officials were quoted by American media outlets, claiming that “Syria’s air defense systems had mistakenly downed a Russian Air Force jet, while trying to intercept Israeli missiles.” This report was confirmed by Russia’s Defense Ministry, which said that ‘an IL-20 surveillance aircraft with 15 people on board disappeared from the radars of Moscow’s aviation control.’ Instead of condemning the Syrian government for their errant fire, Moscow accused Israel of bearing full responsibility for the downing of the Russian aircraft and asserted that the Russian military reserves the right to respond to – what it termed – the provocative acts of hostility by Israel. Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that by “Using Russian plane as a cover, Israeli pilots put it under fire of Syrian air-defence systems. As a result Il-20 – which has significantly larger effective reflective area compared to F-16 – was brought down by a missile of S-200 complex.” / “We see the provocative actions by Israel as acts of hostility. As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian service personnel perished. This absolutely does not correspond to the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right to take commensurate measures in response.” In response to TV7’s request for comment, the IDF spokesperson’s unit said that it does not comment on foreign reports, while the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem refused to react to the Russian statement.
Meanwhile, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that more than 10 members of the Syrian military were injures in the attack on Latakia. According to its report, the targets of the attack were several warehouses belonging to the Syrian “Al-Mo’assasah Al-Taqaniyah,” a technical institution located in the eastern outskirts of Latakia city.