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Russia says Syrian air defenses nearly hit airliner near Damascus

Lufthansa Airbus A320-271N (TJDarmstadt/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

An Airbus A320 airliner with 172 passengers on board has made an emergency landing in the Russian-controlled Khmeimim air base after Syrian air defenses nearly hit it, Russian news agencies have quoted a Defense Ministry spokesman as saying.

The Syrian air defenses were trying to repulse an Israeli attack near Damascus, Igor Konashenkov was quoted as saying on February 7.

According to Konashenkov, after 2 a.m., four Israeli F-16 fighter jets fired at targets in the suburbs of Damascus without entering Syrian airspace.

During the attack, a passenger plane with 172 passengers on board en route from Tehran to Damascus was preparing to land, Konashenkov said. The passenger plane narrowly escaped “the lethal zone of artillery fire,” he added.

The plane was escorted out of the danger zone and assisted in landing at the Khmeimim air base, Konashenkov said.

No further details were immediately available.