Trump: Syria downing Russian jet 'very sad thing'

Trump: Syria downing Russian jet 'very sad thing'
Syrian regime defence systems accidentally shot down a Russian plane late on Monday, killing all 15 on board.
2 min read
19 September, 2018
Trump made the comments during a presser with Polish President Andrzej Duda [Getty]
US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Syria likely shot down a Russian military plane.

On Monday night, a Russian IL-20M reconnaissance plane was downed by the air defences of Syria's regime - Moscow's ally in the war - off the coast of Syria.

"It sounds to me and it seems to me based on a review of the facts that Syria shot down a Russian plane. And I understand about 14 people were killed and that's a very sad thing but that's what happens," Trump said at a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

He added that the US and its allies are close to defeating the Islamic State group in Syria and the region.

"We have done a tremendous job in Syria and in that region eradicating ISIS, which is why we are there. And we are very close to finishing that job."

Late on Monday, Syrian regime defence systems accidentally shot down a Russian plane, killing all 15 crew members, when its air defences swung into action against an Israeli strike.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said that "tragic accidental circumstances" led to the downing, appearing to soften after initially blaming Israel for the incident. 

"It rather looks like a chain of tragic accidental circumstances," Putin told reporters, rejecting any comparisons with the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey in 2015.

"An Israeli jet did not shoot down our plane," said Putin, vowing to beef up security for Russia's military in Syria.

The downing underlines the potential for conflict between the powers vying for influence in Syria, as well as highlights an apparent lack of communication between Russian aircraft in the skies and Syrian defences on the ground, giving a damning appraisal of the Assad regime's military capabilities, analysts told The New Arab.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab