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Russian Military Aircraft Is Said to Be Missing Off Syria Coast

A Russian navy plane carrying 14 individuals disappeared off the Syrian coast on Monday as Israeli fighter jets have been attacking targets within the space and as a French ship was launching missiles, the Russian information company Interfax reported, citing the Russian Protection Ministry.

The Protection Ministry mentioned that the Il-20 surveillance aircraft disappeared from radar screens Monday evening when it was 22 miles from the Mediterranean coast. The plane had been returning to a Russian air base close to the Syrian port metropolis of Latakia.

The disappearance got here the identical day that the Russian protection minister, Sergei Okay. Shoigu, mentioned that Syria would chorus from launching an offensive on Idlib Province, the final main insurgent stronghold in Syria.

Russia has been crucial backer for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in the course of the nation’s long-running civil struggle, now approaching eight years, and it has despatched warplanes and troops to help him.

Mr. Shoigu’s announcement got here after the President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appeared to delay what had been forecast to be a bloody assault on Idlib by agreeing to determine a “demilitarized zone” there.

At the least three million Syrian civilians and 30,000 rebel fighters, together with Qaeda-linked jihadists, have been cornered in Idlib, the last significant piece of territory in Syria that Mr. Assad does not control. Syria’s allies include Russia and Iran.

Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the United States Central Command, referred questions on the episode to the Russian Defense Ministry. “The U.S. was not involved in any strikes in Western Syria or in the shoot down of any planes tonight,” he said on Monday evening.

Follow Mike Ives on Twitter: @mikeives.

Sophia Kishkovsky and Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting.

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