An Airbus A320 carrying 172 passengers from Tehran to Damascus was forced to make an emergency landing at the Russia-controlled Khmeimim Air Base in Syria, after coming under fire from Syrian air defences, Russian state news agency RIA revealed on Friday, citing a Russian Defence Ministry spokesman.
The Syrian forces were responding to Israeli strikes on targets, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov disclosed, according to Interfax news agency.
“After 2 am, four Israeli F-16 fighter jets launched eight air-to-ground missiles in the suburbs of Damascus without entering Syrian airspace”, he revealed. “Such operations by Israeli strategists gamble the lives of hundreds of innocent people,” Konashenkov added.
Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes early on Thursday near Damascus. Syrian state media reported that eight soldiers were wounded, while an opposition war monitoring group noted that 23 people died in the strikes, which targeted army positions and Iran-backed fighters.
Israeli officials have declined to comment.
Last month, the Syrian forces stated that Israeli jets attacked the main T-4 air base in the Homs province, and that its air defences downed several missiles in strikes that caused only material damage.
176 passengers on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight from Tehran to Kiev were killed when the Boeing 737-800 was shot down last month, at a time when Iran was on high alert for a US attack. Iran later announced that the plane had been shot down unintentionally due to human error.