Russian Military Plane Goes Down In Syria


A Russian military transport plane conveying 26 travelers and six group individuals slammed on arriving at an air construct in Syria with respect to Tuesday, killing all on load up, as indicated by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Initial reports ruled out a terrorist attack against the aircraft, an Antonov A 26 transport plane, with specialized disappointment being the imaginable reason, the Interfax news organization announced.

“According to a report from the scene, the airplane was not fired upon,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that an investigation into the crash had begun. The plane hit the ground more than 1,600 feet short of the runway at the Russian-operated Khmeimim Air Base, the statement said.

Russia has stepped up security at the air base and at a naval fcility at Tartus on the Mediterranean coast after both came under a drone attack in early January. The drones were shot down before they caused any damage and there were no casualties, according to a statement on the military’s Facebook page.

The crash on Tuesday is the latest in a string of episodes involving markedly higher casualties among Russians in Syria after more than two years of relatively few. From the time Russia first intervened militarily in Syria in September 2015 until early this year, the public casualty figure was about 46 killed, although some analysts had suspected that it was higher.

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In early February, anti-government forces shot down a Russian fighter jet whose pilot blew himself up with a grenade rather than face capture. Then on Feb. 7, a clash erupted between pro-government forces backed by Russian mercenaries and an American-supported largely Kurdish militia near an eastern oil field. Amid confusing details, reports of Russian casualties have ranged from five to dozens.

The Russian government sought to distance itself from that episode, first saying that no Russian army soldiers had been involved, then announcing that just five Russian citizens had been killed, then saying that dozens of Russian wounded had been evacuated home for treatment.

President Vladimir V. Putin appears increasingly mired in Syria despite saying several times that the Russian mission there has been accomplished.

The twin-engine turbo prop airplane Antonov An-26 that crashed Tuesday — produced in the Soviet Union from 1969 to 1986 — has a less than stellar safety record. More than 140 such airplanes have been involved in accidents over the past three decades, resulting in more than 1,300 casualties, according the Aviation Security Network, a database that tracks aviation accidents.

In December 2016, another military transport plane carrying a famous military choir to Syria for Christmas celebrations plunged into the Black Sea after taking off from the southern Russian resort of Sochi, killing all 92 people onboard.

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