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Russia accuses Israel of taking a civilian plane as a shield in Syrian airspace

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The Russian Ministry of Defense said today that an Airbus 320 passenger plane carrying 172 passengers was close to being subjected to fire from the Syrian air defense systems while they were responding to the recent Israeli raids near Damascus,  Moscow accused Tel Aviv of using the civil plane as a shield to protect its fighters from Syrian fire.

مقاتلة إسرائيلية من طراز أف 16 تقلع من قاعدة عسكرية قرب مدينة إيلات (غيتي-أرشيف)
An Israeli F-16 fighter takes off from a military base near the city of Eilat (Getty-Archive)
The ministry said in a statement that thanks to the operations of the Damascus airport controllers and the effective operation of the automatic air traffic control system, the passenger plane was removed from the Syrian air defense fire zone, and landed safely at the nearest alternative airport at the Russian Hmeimim air base northwest of Syria.
The plane was coming from Tehran to Damascus, but the nationality of the plane is not known yet.
Israeli bombing 
Israeli fighters bombed targets in the vicinity of Damascus at dawn yesterday, has been targeted by the Syrian air defenses, and Israel declined to comment.

The Russian Ministry of Defense added that Israel is taking civilian shields during its military operations in Syria, in order to hinder the work of the Syrian air defense system.
The Russian army stressed that the Israeli radars had "a clear view of the situation in the airspace around Damascus airport," accusing Tel Aviv of "completely disregarding the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians."
A previous incident
This incident brings to mind what happened in September 2018, as Russia accused Israel that its fighter planes had hidden behind a Russian "Il-20" reconnaissance plane while launching an attack in Syria, causing the Russian plane to come under Syrian fire and fall to the Syrian coast off Lattakia governorate, its fall resulted in the death of 15 military personnel on board.

After this incident, Russia said it had upgraded Syrian air defenses with S-300 missile systems.
This incident also comes less than a month after the Iranian armed forces admitted to downing "by mistake" in early January a Boeing 737 plane belonging to the Ukrainian Airlines minutes after take off from Tehran airport. At that time, Iran was on high alert, fearing an American response to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards ’bombing of two American bases in Iraq.
Since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Israel has launched hundreds of strikes on sites of the Syrian regime's army, as well as sites of its allies including Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah, and Tel Aviv has repeated in recent years that it will not allow arms shipments from Syria to Hezbollah and will not allow Iran to be stationed militarily in Syrian territory

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