Syria's Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane

India suggests setting up special economic zone for Russian companies

The army said Major-General Amikam Norkin and other senior officers would "present the situation report of the event regarding all aspects, including the pre-mission information and the findings of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) inquiry".

Proving just how risky the situation remains in Syria-where the U.S., Russia, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, France and other nations are all maintaining military operations amid a civil war that has dragged on for almost seven years-the Kremlin on Tuesday is blaming Israel after the Syrian military reportedly downed a Russian military aircraft by mistake, killing all 15 airmen on board.

Israel on Tuesday blamed Syria, saying its anti-aircraft batteries "fired indiscriminately" and failed to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday that Russian experts will study the data to be provided by the Israeli air force chief.

When Syria's Russian-built S-200 air-defense system responded to the airspace breach, a Russian Il-20 military plane was struck by a missile, destroying the aircraft and killing all 15 servicemen on board.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed the matter with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday, warning that Moscow could retaliate with unspecified "measures".

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Monday's attack came just hours after Russian Federation and Turkey negotiated a partial demilitarization of the Idlib province, which is the last remaining stronghold of anti-government militants, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (also known as the Jabhat Al-Nusra).

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah militia said Wednesday his group may reduce the number of its fighters in Syria because of an easing of the conflict, particularly after a recent Russian-Turkey agreement that prevented an offensive on the last rebel stronghold.

It was the worst "friendly fire" incident between Moscow and the Syrian regime since Russian forces intervened in the country in late 2015 to support Assad whose grip on power had been weakened by rebels and jihadist fighters.

Russia's defense ministry said "full blame" rests with the Israeli aircraft which carried out strikes on Syria's Latakia province and "used the Russian plane as a cover".

The IDF said the weapons purportedly stored at the facility "were meant to attack Israel, and posed an intolerable threat against it".

Meanwhile, U.S. officials expressed sorrow over the shootdown of the Russian plane and added that American forces were not involved in the incident. "Israel also holds Iran and the Hezbollah terror organization accountable for this unfortunate incident", the army said.

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