Israel used a Russian civilian flight carrying 172 passengers as a shield when its air forces attacked targets near Damascus, spokesman of Russian Defence Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, revealed on Friday.
“The recourse to civilian aircraft as cover or to block a riposte by Syrian forces during military air operations has become characteristic of the Israeli air force,” Konashenkov disclosed in a statement reported by Russian media.
“At the time of the attack by Israeli planes… an Airbus-320 airliner was on approach to landing… in the death zone of airstrikes and artillery,” Konashenkov added.
He noted that the “quick reaction” of air traffic controllers at Damascus airport enabled the Airbus 320 to avoid the area “which was in the firing line of Syrian anti-aircraft defence systems.”
Konashenkov stressed that the Israeli radars have “a clear view of the situation in the skies around Damascus airport,” but Israel made “a total mockery of the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians.”
Konashenkov confirmed that the civilian plane landed safely after diverting to Khmeimim – a Russian airbase in the Syrian city of Latakia.