MOSCOW, September 25. /TASS/. The deceased crew of the Il-20 that crashed in Syria will be posthumously awarded Orders of Courage, and the bereaved families will receive help, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
"Fifteen Russian servicemen who were killed on September 17 in the crash of the Il-20 of the Russian Aerospace Force will be posthumously awarded Orders of Courage by the command for their devotion, courage and bravery evinced while performing combat tasks in the Syrian Arab Republic. The Russian Defense Ministry is providing all the necessary support and help to the bereaved families," the Russian Defense Ministry said in the statement.
The Il-20 electronic reconnaissance plane was shot down on the evening of September 17 over the Mediterranean Sea when it was returning to the Hmeymim Airbase. The Russian Defense Ministry reported that it was downed by a missile from Syria’s S-200 air defense missile system when it was carrying out an attack on four Israeli F-16 planes that had attacked facilities in the Latakia Governorate. A search operation is being carried out on the Il-20 crash site, 27 km west of the Baniyas port, to recover from water the bodies of 15 deceased crew members and the plane wreckage.
The Russian Defense Ministry pinned the blame for the attack on the Israeli Air Force. The Israeli military warned about strikes on Syrian facilities just a minute before and wrongly specified the direction of the operation of the F-16 fighters, which made impossible to move the Il-20 away from the blow of the Syrian air defense systems in time and led to the death of the Russian servicemen. This Russia’s position is supported by objective data of the radars of the S-400 complex and the footage of negotiations with the Israeli side.