Israel's air force commander was set
to lead a delegation to Moscow on Thursday to share the military's findings
on the Syrian downing of a Russian warplane following Israeli air strikes.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has blamed Israel for the incident, which
was the worst case of friendly fire between Moscow and his regime since
Russian forces intervened in the war-torn country in late 2015.
The Russia-bound delegation, led by Major General Amikam Norkin, will
present the situation report regarding all aspects of the incident, the
Israeli army said in a statement on Wednesday.
It will also provide information on Iranian attempts to transfer
strategic weapons to the Hezbollah terror organisation and to establish an
Iranian military presence in Syria, the statement said.
Syrian air defences shot down the Russian military plane on Monday,
killing all 15 soldiers aboard, after Israeli missiles had struck the coastal
region of Latakia.
Israel has vowed to stop its arch-foe Iran, which backs the Assad regime,
from entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria.
Earlier this month, it acknowledged having carried out more than 200
strikes in Syria over the past 18 months, mainly against Iranian targets.
After Monday's incident, the Russian military accused Israeli pilots of
using the Russian plane as a cover, exposing it to fire from Syrian air
Israel denied the allegations, saying its jets were already back in its
airspace when Syrian forces launched the missiles that hit the Russian plane.
In a letter to his Russian counterpart on Wednesday, Assad offered his
condolences for the deaths after the plane was downed by Syria's Russian-made
S-200 air defence system.
This unfortunate incident was the result of Israeli arrogance and
depravity, the Syrian leader said.
We are determined that such tragic events will sway neither you nor us
from continuing the fight against terrorism, he added in the letter
published by the official Sana news agency.
� 'Tragic accidental circumstances' � Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu expressed his sorrow to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a
phone call on Tuesday, offering to assist Moscow in the investigation.
However, he insisted the Russian plane had been felled by extensive and
inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft (fire).
Putin had said the incident was the result of tragic accidental
circumstances, warning Netanyahu against carrying out such operations in the
He also pledged to beef up security for Russian forces in Syria, which
three years ago stepped in to support Assad whose grip on power had been
weakened by rebels and jihadist fighters.
Israel has admitted to striking Syria to prevent what it says are
deliveries of advanced weaponry to Lebanon's Hezbollah, an armed movement
backed by Iran and which fights alongside Syrian troops.
On Wednesday, Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah said the Shiite movement
would stay in Syria until further notice.
We will remain there even after the Idlib accord, Nasrallah said,
referring to a Russia-Turkey deal to prevent a Syrian regime offensive on the
country's last rebel-held stronghold.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)