An Airbus-320 with 172 passengers on board could have been targeted by Syrian missile defense systems because of Israel's air strikes at Damascus suburbs on February 6, the plane was escorted out of the danger zone and assisted in landing at the Hmeymim air base, official spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Friday.
During the attack of Israeli fighter jets near Damascus airport, 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. "Only thanks to prompt actions of dispatchers at Damascus airport and effective work of the automated system of monitoring air traffic, the Airbus-320 was escorted from the danger zone and assisted in successfully landing at an aerodrome at the Russian air base Hmeymim," TASS quoted him as saying.
"Israeli General Staff's military operations in air using passenger jets for cover or block of response fire by Syrian missile systems is becoming a typical trait of Israeli Air Force," he noted.
He said that Israeli Air Force delivered air strikes at the outskirts of Damascus on February 6 without entering Syria's airspace. Israeli fighter jets fired eight air-to surface missiles. Syrian military used missile defense systems to repel the air strikes.