A military transport plane has gone down in Syria, killing all 32 people aboard, according to reports.
The plane went down as it tried to land at a Russian military base in Syria. In recent weeks, Russia has been pulling troops and hardware out of the country, after taking several defeats in their attempt to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is regressing to old Soviet-style, Cold War-era tactics by sending military assets into a foreign country to stir division and support oppressive regimes. However, it appears he did not learn the lesson Russia was given after meddling in Afghanistan in the 1980s and suffering heavy losses: fighting in the Middle East is often a losing game.
A Russian military transport plane crashed in Syria on Tuesday, killing all 32 people on board, Russian news agencies quoted the Defence Ministry as saying, an incident that sharply raises the death toll from the Kremlin’s Syria operation.
President Vladimir Putin, who is running for re-election later this month, in December ordered “a significant part” of Moscow’s military contingent in Syria to start withdrawing, declaring their work largely done.
But casualties continue to mount.
The defense ministry was cited as saying that the plane, a Soviet-designed An-26, crashed at Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province and that initial information suggested the crash may have been caused by a technical fault.
Twenty-six passengers and six crew members were on board, and all were killed in the crash, the news agencies quoted the ministry as saying.
Russian state TV cited military officials as saying the aircraft had not been brought down by enemy fire. It said the crash happened as the plane came into land at Hmeymim, and that it came down around 500 meters (550 yards) short of the runway.