CNN has landed in hot water after airing a report, citing an unnamed US official with knowledge of the incident, that a Russian Il-20 aircraft, which went off radar near Hmeymim Airbase in Syria, was shot down by the Syrian military's anti-aircraft artillery.
The alleged downing coincided with a missile attack on the Syrian province of Latakia, with the media outlet claiming that Damascus was attempting to “stop a barrage of Israeli missile.”
Social media users appeared to not trust the report, having branded CNN as “fake news,” with many pointing out to the fact that the Syrian and Russian air defense systems were “unified”:
FAKE NEWS. Nobody knows who did it yet. Anonymous US officer knows it and told to CNN? Amazing source!— #Idlib 🇸🇾➕Battle for Freedom➕ (@BattleFFreedom) 18 сентября 2018 г.
These Fake News in the USA always blame Russia or Syria.— Enrique 🇨🇱 (@garoukike) 18 сентября 2018 г.
Which means that none of them was, apparently it was France or Israel.https://t.co/60MyjHng4d
Their air defense systems are unified, they cannot target Russian aircraft. "Do a little research instead of spreading lies"— Book & Musket 🇵🇱 🇸🇾 (@ezmac310) 18 сентября 2018 г.
Absolute lies — Syrian and Russian defence systems are integrated, i suggest you do a bit of reading on FFI systems, absolute crap you churn out, and only the dumb Americans swallow it, you are a disgrace to the profession of journalism— Knotaclu (@manwithtwopints) 18 сентября 2018 г.
Fake News ur Story is BS and makes no sense — Americans are not as Stupid as U think.Syrian Air Defense officers responded "our system is connected to Russia air defense which detects friendly planes, Israel struck it". pic.twitter.com/jLEnU6BS36— Irish For Palestine (@NYCelt) 18 сентября 2018 г.
On Monday evening, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that the Russian Il-20 aircraft disappeared off radar near Hmeymim Airbase in Syria with 14 servicemen on board, whose fate remains unknown.
"On September 17, at about 11 p.m. Moscow time [20:00 GMT], the communication with the crew of the Russian Il-20 aircraft was lost when it was over the Mediterranean Sea, some 35 kilometers from the Syrian coast, on its way back to Hmeymim Airbase.”
Personnel at Hmeymim Airbase have organized a search and rescue operation.
Missiles Hit Syria's Latakia
In a parallel development, the Syrian province of Latakia was struck with missiles, which military sources said came from the direction of the sea.
"Syria's air defense systems have responded to an air attack in Latakia. Most likely there were drones and missiles involved," a source told Sputnik.
The Russian Defense Ministry also said that it had identified four Israeli F-16s carrying out strikes on Syrian targets in Latakia, and also managed to detect several missile launches from French frigates in the Mediterranean late on Monday.
“At the same time Russian air control radar systems detected rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne, which was located in that region.”
An Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson refused to comment on the missing plane, although the spokesperson later said that IDF doesn't comment on foreign reports.