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Downing of Il-20 Example of Escalation Scenario That Must Stop - US Syria Envoy

© REUTERS / Sergey PivovarovA Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft (File)
A Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft (File) - Sputnik International
UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — The recent crash of a Russian Il-20 military airplane off the coast of Syria is an example of an escalation scenario that urgently needs to be stopped, US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey told reporters.

"The situation as it evolved over the last month: On top of a raging internal conflict… you now have five states’ military forces — US, Russian, Turkish and Israeli, [and Syrian] at least in the air over and around Syria — bumping into each other," Jeffrey said on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. "We just saw a dramatic example of what we are trying to avoid on a larger scale."

Syrian government supporters wave Syrian, Iranian and Russian flags as they chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations following a wave of U.S., British and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for suspected chemical attack against civilians, in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April 14, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Jeffrey explained that Israeli jets were allegedly going after Iranian military targets, which resulted in Syrian air defenses trying to shoot down the Israeli jets and shoot down a Russian airplane instead.

"This is the kind of escalation scenario we urgently need to stop," Jeffrey said.

On September 17, a Russian military Il-20 was downed over the Mediterranean Sea by a missile launched by Syria's S-200 air defense system that was targeting Israeli aircraft.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Israeli F-16 jets flying in the vicinity used the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defenses. The incident claimed the lives of 15 Russian servicemen.

Israel has denied the accusations that its jets used the Russian airplane as a shield and has maintained that Russia was informed about the air raid in a timely manner.

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