A Russian aircraft was shot down “inadvertently” by Syrian regime anti-aircraft artillery Monday after the regime was attacked by Israeli missiles, a U.S. official told CNN. The official said the Syrians were attempting to stop the “barrage of Israeli missiles” when they hit a Russian maritime patrol aircraft with crew members on board. The Russian news agency TASS reported earlier Monday that an IL-20 military aircraft with 14 people on board disappeared over the Mediterranean during the strike in the Syrian province of Latakia—where Russia has based much of its military presence in Syria. CNN reports that the aircraft was shot down by “an anti-aircraft system the Russians sold to the Syrians several years ago.” The Russian Defense Ministry later released a statement appearing to shift blame away from Syria, however. The ministry said a French frigate had been recorded launching a missile at the time the Russian aircraft went missing, according to RIA-Novosti.
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