Passenger plane makes emergency landing after coming under fire in Syria

WION Web Team Moscow, Russia Feb 07, 2020, 01.55 PM(IST)

A Russian Airbus A320-214 plane from Russian carrier Ural Airlines. Photograph:( AFP )

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The Airbus A320 had been coming into land at Damascus International Airport when it was forced to divert to the nearest alternative airfield, the Khmeimim airbase.

A passenger plane carrying 172 passengers from Tehran to Damascus made an emergency landing at the Russian-controlled Khmeimim airbase on Thursday after coming under fire from Syrian air defences, Russia's defence ministry said on Friday.

The Syrian forces almost hit the Russian plane while intercepting Israeli missiles which had hit the suburbs of Damascus, Russian media cited spokesman Igor Konashenkov as saying.

Also read: Russia strike kill five civilians in northwest Syria

It comes as the Syrian army advanced into the strategic town of Saraqeb in the rebel-held Idlib province.

The town sits on a junction of two key roads, which President Bashar al-Assad's government is seeking to retake in order to revive an economy ravaged by almost nine years of war.

Meanwhile, Turkey has sent more reinforcements to the so-called de-escalation zone in Syria.

Also read: Syrian army enters rebel-held northwestern Saraqeb town in latest advance

It also warned Russia and Syria of retaliation if the fighting continues. Tensions escalated between Ankara and Moscow after eight Turkish soldiers were killed in shelling by Syrian forces.

Russia hit back at Turkey saying that Ankara was not able to curb 'terror groups' in its zone of responsibility in Syria.

The incident took place a month after a Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukraine International Airlines crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran, killing all 176 people on board.

Iran later said it had been shot down unintentionally due to human error.

Also see: In first fatal incident for Ukraine airline, plane crashes in Iran

The Syrian defence ministry said on Thursday it had intercepted Israeli missiles over Damascus that were fired at military targets in southern Syria. Israel has declined to comment.

The Airbus A320 had been coming into land at Damascus International Airport when it was forced to divert to the nearest alternative airfield, the Khmeimim airbase.