The official version of the Ministry of Defense of Russia about the death of the IL-20 in Syria

According to the Department of Information and Mass Communications of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, on September 23, 2018, during a special briefing, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation provided detailed information on all the circumstances of the crash of the IL-20 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Force off the coast of Syria on the evening of September 17.
The official representative of the Russian military department, Major General Igor Konashenkov, presented the per-minute chronology of the tragic event based on objective data from radar tools, including the Plotto air traffic information display system.
“On the evening of September 17, the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft from 20 hours 31 minutes performed a special task to monitor the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone. On board were 15 Russian troops.
At this time, a group of four F-16 fighters flew out of Israeli territory to deliver a surprise attack on industrial facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic. The flight route of the Israeli fighters is displayed on the screen.
The F-16 fighters, flying over the neutral waters of the Mediterranean, occupied a patrol area 90 kilometers west of the city of Latakia.
At 21:39, a representative of the Israeli Air Force commander in the military rank of colonel alerted the “deconflicting” channel to the command of the Russian group of troops in Syria about the impending attack on targets. It was about the fact that in the next few minutes Israel will strike at facilities that are located in the NORTH of Syria.
One minute later, at 21:40, four Israeli F-16 aircraft struck the GBU-39 guided bombs at industrial facilities in the province of LATAKIA. Thus, the Israeli side, in violation of the existing agreements, did not advance notice of the Russian grouping about conducting its operation, but simultaneously with the start of the attacks.
These actions are in direct violation of the 2015 Russian-Israeli agreements to prevent incidents between our armed forces in the Syrian sector,achieved through a joint working group.
The position of the aircraft at the time of impact you can see on the screen display system information on air traffic.
I would like to point out again that during the negotiations on the deconflicting line, a representative of the Israeli Air Force headquarters said that the targets on which it is planned to strike Israeli aircraft are in the NORTH of Syria. The conversation was conducted in Russian. The Russian Ministry of Defense has an audio recording of this conversation.
The commander of the IL-20, located in the north of Syria, received instructions to leave the area of ​​the mission to the south and return to the base.
As you can see on the map, Israeli fighter strikes were not inflicted in the northern part of the Syrian Arab Republic, but in the region of Latakia, which is its WESTERN province. And the city of Latakia itself is located on the west coast of the country.
Misleading an Israeli officer about the area of ​​fighter strikes did not allow the Russian IL-20 to be launched to a safe area. In addition, the location of the Israeli F-16 was not indicated.
At 21:51, Syrian anti-aircraft defenses began to repel an Israeli attack and launched anti-aircraft missiles.After the strike, Israeli planes again took up a zone of duty in the air 70 km west of the coast of Syria, putting radio-electronic interference and, probably, preparing for a second strike.
At 21:59 one of the Israeli aircraft began a maneuver in the direction of the coast of Syria, moving closer to the IL-20, which made the approach. This was perceived by the calculations of the Syrian air defense for a new attack by Israeli aircraft.
The Israeli pilot could not help but understand that the effective reflecting surface of the IL-20 aircraft significantly exceeds the similar surface of the F-16 and that it is the Russian aircraft that will be the preferred target for an anti-aircraft missile. The Israelis knew that the armed forces of Russia and Syria used different systems of identification "friend or foe" and Syrian radar stations could identify the IL-20 as a group target of Israeli fighters.
During this period, the Il-20 plane, which had turned for landing at the Khmeymim airfield, turned out to be in the direction of fire of Syrian air defense weapons on Israeli aircraft. Especially
I emphasize that, observing the Russian Il-20, Israeli fighters covered themselves from anti-aircraft missiles, continuing to maneuver in the area.
At 22:03, a Syrian anti-aircraft missile hit a larger and near target - the IL-20.The crew commander reported on the fire on board and the start of an emergency descent.
At 22:07, the mark of the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft disappeared from the radar screens. At the same time, Israeli aircraft did not go into their airspace, but remained in the same area and continued to be on air duty until 22:40.
At 22:29, the duty officer of the command of the Russian grouping in Syria brought an Israeli officer at the command center of the air force that the Russian Il-20 plane was in distress: "We demand to divert your funds from the area, since we will use rescue equipment." An Israeli officer in the rank of lieutenant replied: "Received information, I will bring to command."
At 22:40 the F-16 fighters left the zone. After that, only at 22:53, that is, 50 minutes after a Russian Il-20 missile hit, the operational duty officer of the Israeli Air Force command center with the rank of colonel contacted and said: “Your information about the Il-20 disaster has been received. We cleared the zone. If help is needed, we are ready to help. ”
The objective data presented indicate that the actions of the Israeli fighter pilots, which led to the death of 15 Russian servicemen, speak either of their lack of professionalism, or, at least, of criminal negligence.Therefore, we believe that the blame for the tragedy with the Russian Il-20 lies entirely on the Israeli air force and those who made the decision on this type of activity.
I emphasize that the actions of the Israeli Air Force fighters on the evening of September 17 were carried out in the area of ​​the landing approach to the Khmeimim airfield not only military but also civilian passenger aircraft. Thus, Israeli fighters created a direct threat to any passenger and transport aircraft that could be there at that time and become victims of the adventurism of the Israeli military.
Currently, a search operation is being carried out at the site of the crash of the Russian Il-20 aircraft, 27 kilometers west of the port of Banias, to retrieve the bodies of the dead and debris from the water.
It is worth noting that the behavior of Israeli pilots is fundamentally different from the actions of American aviation in the region. You know that we have a communication channel to prevent air incidents, where the parties notify each other in advance about the plans to use aviation in various areas of Syria. This allows us to take timely measures to eliminate any situations that threaten the Russian and American military personnel both in the air and on the ground.
The Russian side has never violated the agreement with Israel and did not use Russian air defense systems deployed in Syria, even though Israeli attacks in several instances resulted in moments that posed a potential threat to the security of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
During the period of the agreement, 310 notifications about the actions of the Russian Aerospace Forces near Russia were sent to the Israeli Air Force command center. At the same time, the Israeli side gave notice only 25 times - only immediately before the attacks themselves.
In the context of constructive Russian-Israeli cooperation in the Syrian sector, it is difficult for us to understand what caused the described actions of Tel Aviv. This is an extremely ungrateful response to all that the Russian Federation has done for the State of Israel and the Israelis lately.
Let me remind you that as a result of an operation carried out in the south-western zone of de-escalation of Syria by government troops with the support of the Russian Aerospace Force this summer, conditions were created for the resumption of the activities of the UN peacekeeping force,deployed in the area of ​​separation between Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1974 No. 350.
Since August 2, 2018, after a six-year hiatus, the UN peacekeeping contingent under patrol of the Russian military police has been patrolling the area of ​​separation on the Golan Heights. This made it possible to completely eliminate the shelling of Israeli territory from the side of the Golan Heights.
Currently, along the line "Bravo" there are six observation posts of the military police of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, which ensure the safety of the staff of the UN mission.
In order to prevent the threat of missile strikes from pro-Iranian formations, Israel asked for a solution to the situation with the presence of heavy weapons of pro-Iranian groups in the region adjacent to the Golan Heights.
Russia held consultations with Iran, during which Tehran notified that it did not consider it necessary to exacerbate the situation in the area and did not have aggressive intentions against Israel.
As a result, all pro-Iranian formations with heavy weapons withthe assistance of the Russian troops were diverted from the Golan Heights to a safe distance for Israel - more than 140 kilometers to the east of Syria.
A total of 1,050 personnel, 24 launchers of volley fire systems and tactical missiles, and 145 units of other weapons and military equipment were assigned.
At the request of Israel, the command of the Russian grouping of troops in Syria has repeatedly removed the concerns of the Israeli side about the possible transfer of so-called "sensitive" samples of military products supplied from Russia to Syria to a third party.
The Israeli side has repeatedly stressed the importance of the work being done by the Russian Ministry of Defense in this direction and expressed gratitude to the Russian specialists.
In 2016, at the urgent request of the Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Lieutenant-General G. Eisenkota, the Magah-3 tank, which was captured in Lebanon in 1982 and transferred to Russia, was transferred to the Israeli side. The transfer was carried out in the presence of the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. B. Netanyahu.
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation rendered assistance in the preservation of Jewish shrines and burials in the city of Aleppo. The interaction was carried out through the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, Mr. A.M. Beard The importance of this work was appreciated by the Minister of Defense of Israel, Mr. A. Lieberman.
Also, the Israeli side turned to Russia with a request to locate the remains of Israeli soldiers at specific coordinates in Syria. The search work was deployed after Russia agreed on the search for the remains of the Israeli military with Syrian partners at the operational level.
A special search operation was carried out in the area of ​​combat operations in the territory controlled by ISIL. Militants of terrorist groups suddenly attacked the Russian military, engaged in searches. During the battle a Russian special forces soldier was wounded. Russia was ready to continue this work.
Against this background, the hostile actions of the Israeli air force committed against the Russian IL-20 aircraft go beyond the framework of civilized relations.The objective data on the events of September 17 presented to you today indicates that the Israeli military leadership either does not value the level of relations with Russia, or does not control individual commanders and commanders, who understood that their actions lead to tragedy.

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