The Russian Defense Ministry Thursday said a purported Israeli air strike near Damascus endangered a civilian Airbus-320 with 172 passengers aboard trying to land at Damascus airport. The plane was diverted to Russia’s Khmeimim airbase. The ministry complained it was common practice for Israeli fighters to use civilian planes as shields against Syrian air defenses.
Regarding the same incident, Syrian rebel sources report that Israeli airstrikes near Damascus and southern Syria Wednesday night killed 23 combatants, including 3 Iranians and 7 Tehran-backed “foreign fighters” near the Iranian outpost of Kisweh south of Damascus. Another 5 Syrian members of a “pro-Iran group” were killed in the southern province of Daraa. There was no comment from Israel on either claim.