Israel: downing of IL-20 which resulted in death of 15 Russians was caused by 'indiscriminate firing' by the Syrian air defense
On September 20, Israeli Defense Forces delegation led by Air Force Commander Major-General Amikam Norkin arrived in Moscow with a report regarding the Russian Il-20 crash in Syria.
According to ‘The Times of Israel’, after Moscow’s accusations, the Israeli government made "full-scale diplomatic efforts" to resolve the situation fearing to lose close cooperation with the Russian military in Syria. In particular, Israel took unusual actions by openly acknowledging the fact of carrying out the operation in Syria and publishing some of the findings of its internal investigation.
Part of the data in the report coincides with what Israel said the day after the crash of the IL-20. The Syrian air defense began to fire when Israeli fighters had already returned to their airspace. The Syrians conducted an indiscriminate and inaccurate attack without having made sure that there are no Russian planes in the air.
The Israeli military said that Israeli-Russian deconfliction mechanism that night worked in accordance with the usual procedure. It worked the same as with 200 similar Israeli attacks on sites in Syria over the past two years. The Russian Defense Ministry said that it received a warning about the air strike only a minute before it began, however, Israel says that this is not the case. On September 21, a source in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) told reporters that Russia had been warned "quite accurately much earlier than one minute", reports RIA News.
According to the report, after the attack on the evening of September 17, the Syrian air defense opened fire in all directions throughout Syria, including to the south (towards Lebanon), to the east and to the west, that is, towards the sea where the Russian aircraft was shot down. They continued firing for over half an hour using dozens of types of missiles. The Soviet-made S-200 system shot down the IL-20.
According to Israel’s military, this approach to air defense appeared in Syria in February. Then, the Syrian military managed to shoot down the Israeli fighter F-16. Prior to that, Syrians used to respond to Israeli air raids with only a few missiles, but since February, Syrian military started launching dozens of missiles during each Israeli attack. Thus, On May 10, when Israel attacked about 50 facilities in Syria, Syrians launched about 170 missiles in response.
In such cases, Syria and Russia usually coordinate their actions, but on September 17 a number of mistakes led to the crash of the IL-20, believes the IDF. "The IDF considers a miracle the fact that no foreign aircraft has been shot down by Syria before that," reports Ynetnews.
Officially, Russian side did not provide its reaction to the Israeli report. On September 21, the Lebanese TV channel Al-Mayadin, which ‘The Times of Israel’ associated with ‘Hezbollah’, reported that Russia "rejected" the Israeli report and demanded a new investigation.