Report: Russia closes off airspace and waters near Syria



MOSCOW (dpa)- Russia has closed off international waters and airspace near Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus until next Wednesday because it is conducting naval drills, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.
Russia will be conducting test missile launches in such areas in the eastern Mediterranean, the report said on Thursday, citing an international Notice to Airmen issued by Russia.



Israeli media connected the closure with the shooting-down of a Russian warplane by Syrian state forces earlier this week.
Russia's military has blamed Israel for that incident, saying an Israeli jet on a bombing mission manoeuvred behind the Russian reconnaissance plane to take cover from Syrian air defences.
Israel has adamantly denied responsibility for the plane crash, which killed 15 Russian personnel. Russian President Vladimir Putin has downplayed the Russian military's accusation and attributed the incident to "tragic circumstances."
Russia, the main military backer of the Syrian government in that country's long-running war, has so far managed to maintain close relations with Israel despite Israel's opposition to Syria's leadership.
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Friday, September 21st 2018
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