Russian lawmaker proposes No-Fly Zone over Hmeimin Base in Syria

Moscow: The establishment of a no-fly zone over the Russian Hmeimim airbase in Syria’s Latakia will help avoid tragedies similar to the recent Il-20 incident, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Monday.

“It is necessary to create a no-fly zone and announce publicly that any unauthorized aircraft spotted in the airspace over Hmeimim will be destroyed unconditionally,” Chairman of the Russian upper house defence committee, Viktor Bondarev, told reporters in Moscow.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced earlier in the day that Moscow will supply Syria with S-300 Air Defence Systems as well as automated fire-control systems following the downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane off the Syrian coast on September 17 that killed 15 servicemen.

Il-20 was 22 miles off the Syrian coast when it was shot down while returning to the Hmeimim airbase. At the same time, four Israeli F-16 aircraft were bombing Syrian targets in Latakia.

The Russian Defense Ministry said last week that the Israeli military deliberately created a dangerous situation by using the Russian military plane as a shield against Syrian air defense systems.