On September 20, a high-level Israeli military delegation led by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief, Major General Amikam Norkin, held a series of meetings with their Russian counterparts in Moscow. During the meetings, the delegation presented a 40-page report regarding the Russian Il-20 incident off Syria.
“The meetings were held in a positive spirit. There was professional, open and transparent dialogue on various issues, and an emphasis was put on the importance of the two nations’ interests and the continuation of a deconfliction mechanism,” the Israeli military said in an official statement.
In the report, Israel claims that the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) fired dozens of surface to air missile for 40 minutes after the initial Israeli airstrike on a target near the city of Lattakia. According to the Time of Israel, the report concludes that SyAADF units fired without aiming and “did not bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.”
Israel went as far as complaining that the SyAADF is trying to foil its airstrikes and explained that fewer surface to air missiles were launched by Syria prior to the shoot down of the Israel F-16 on February 10.
The claims in the Israeli report contradict to a statement released by the Ministry of Defense of Russia. According to the Russian military, the Il-20 was shoot down by the SyAADF as a result of actions by 4 Israeli F-16 warplanes, which were hiding from Syrian air defense fire behind the Il-20.
The Israeli report was a clear attempt to blame the incident on the SyAADF, which was only trying to foil the Israeli airstrike. Israel even attempted to use the tragedy to show the SAADF as a potential threat to Russian forces.