The Russian Defense Ministry accused its Israeli counterparts of creating a dangerous situation in which a passenger plane came under fire when it was about to land at Damascus airport.
“This was an airplane on the route from Tehran to Damascus. There were 172 passengers on board at the time of the attack, “ Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
According to the general, on the night of Thursday, February 6, four Israeli F-16 fighter jets unexpectedly struck the suburbs of Damascus without entering the Syrian airspace.
"Only thanks to the prompt actions of the Damascus airport controllers and the effective operation of the automated air traffic control system it was possible to steer the passenger Airbus-320 away from the operation zone of the Syrian air defense and safely land the plane at the nearest reserve airfield at Russia's Khmeimim airbase," Konashenkov said as cited by Radio Sputnik.
He added that passenger flights around the world are operating at known altitudes, and Israeli radars clearly saw the situation near the Damascus airport.
"Unfortunately, such operations of Israeli military disregard the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians," the Russian defense official said.
Earlier, it was reported that 12 Iranian military and pro-Iranian militants were killed in the Israeli air strike on Syria. The Syrian authorities blamed Israel for the attack. Jerusalem has not commented on the allegations.