Details of a possible tragic incident were released due to an accusation by Israel of the Russian Khmeimim air base's command of the use of the S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile system against Israeli air targets. As a result, an Israeli UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was destroyed and an F-16 fighter was damaged.
Let us recall that the incident occurred on February 6, 2020. The Iranian Airlines Airbus-320 civil airliner with 172 passengers and crew members on board flew from Tehran to Damascus. When approaching the destination airport, the commander of the ship was forced to abruptly turn the machine around on the glide path and swiftly leave the Damascus zone by command of an air controller, and then landed safely at the base's airfield.
When approaching the destination, the Iranian airliner found itself in the firing line of Syrian air defense systems targeting missiles launched by four Israeli air force fighters deliberately covered by a civilian aircraft. The command came to the Damascus international airport's control room from the Russian Khmeimim air base. If the Russian and Syrian operators were at least a few seconds late with the command, the Syrian anti-aircraft missiles would have mistaken the civilian airliner for Israeli cruise missiles.
In turn, the air defense commander of the Russian base independently ordered to engage targets that entered the zone of responsibility, having thus accomplished the combat mission.
According to latest statements by the military and political leadership of the Jewish state, the combat aircraft was seriously damaged, but the pilot managed to safely get back to his base in Israel. Tel Aviv raised a strong protest over the engagement, justifying its actions by the use of weapons against Iran's military facilities in Syria alone.
At the same time, Israel accused Russia and Syria of destroying a Russian Il-20M electronic reconnaissance aircraft on September 17, 2018, and killing 15 officers on board. The Israeli pilots then similarly used the body of a Russian plane as a cover from anti-aircraft missiles fired by the Syrian air defense system.
The command of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria was not notified of the alleged departure and flight routes of Israeli warplanes, as provided for by bilateral obligations. And one more thing. Israeli air-to-surface missiles caused the death of 23 soldiers, including 12 Syrians, eight of whom were killed by firing crews and air defense radar stations. So even in this case, the Israelis are trying to utter a lie.
Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces Vladimir Putin, after being briefed on the situation, decided to encourage the Russian military. He reminded the command of the order to destroy not only missiles or projectiles approaching military objects, but also their carriers in case of a threat to the life of the Russian military, without securing approval of top-level management. Even if they are in the Syrian airspace outside the airbase's area of responsibility.
There is a good chance that this provocation was carried out with knowledge of the top leadership of Israel and in response to President Vladimir Putin's restrained position on the new plan for a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which was enthusiastically approved by Benjamin Netanyahu.