Russian aircraft vanishes near Syria during Israeli, French strikes

Putin and Erdogan agree to create demilitarised zone in Syria's Idlib

"We deny any involvement", Colonel Patrik Steiger, a spokesman for France's military, told Reuters.

The defence ministry in Moscow said the aircraft was returning to the Russian-run Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province when, at about 11:00 pm Moscow time (20:00 GMT) on Monday, it disappeared from radar screens.

The official also said that there were 14 servicemen on board and their fate is unknown.

A search and rescue mission is underway, the report added.

Loud explosions shook Syria's coastal province of Latakia late on Monday, sending orange flames into the sky in what Syrian state media said was an Israeli attack targeting a state company for technical industries.

The war monitoring group said the target appeared to be an ammunition depot that in the compound of the state Institute for Technical Industries.

It also said it detected missile launches in the area from the French frigate Auvergne.

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A United States official told Reuters the plane could have been accidentally downed by a Syrian government anti-aircraft battery as defences were activated in response to the French and Israeli attack. Another source from Syrian military said that the missile attack on Latakia was made from the sea.

"Air defences have confronted enemy missiles coming from the sea in the direction of the Latakia city, and intercepted a number of them", SANA quoted a military source as saying. The US is insisting that a Syrian government anti-aircraft battery was accidently responsible for bringing down the Russian Il-20.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman declined to comment on the reports.

MOSCOW-Russia blamed Israel Tuesday for the loss of a Russian reconnaissance plane shot down overnight by Syrian defense systems, boosting tensions between Tel Aviv and Moscow.

Russian Federation said it would make an "appropriate response". The Observatory said at the time that the September 4 attacks were believed aimed at Iranian military posts.

Russia-backed forces of the Syrian government have massed around Idlib province in recent weeks, sparking fears of an imminent air and ground attack to retake the last major terrorist bastion.

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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