Syria shot down a Russian plane with a surface-to-air missile on Monday, Russia's Defense Ministry reported and it blamed Israeli fighter jets in the area for the accidental downing of the reconnaissance aircraft with 14 people on board.
Rescuers were searching for wreckage in the Mediterranean Sea but did not expect to find survivors.
The Russian military said on Tuesday that the plane was hit by accident by one of several missiles which were aimed at four Israeli fighter jets that were attacking targets in the coastal province of Lattakia late on Monday.
Russia said the Israeli aircraft "pushed" the Russian plane into the line of fire. The ministry accused the Israeli army of "intentional provocation" and said Israel did not warn Russia of its operation in the area until one minute before the strike.
Russia has been a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad and it has two military bases in the country, including one close to the Mediterranean coast.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the Il-20 went off radar 22 miles away from the coast late Monday as it was returning to the Russian base near the city of Lattakia. The military said the four Israeli fighter jets were attacking targets in the area.
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