Russian airspace control systems have registered missile launches from a French frigate in the Mediterranean on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.
The French Navy’s newest frigate, FS Auvergne, fired rockets around 8pm GMT Monday, the Russian military said. “Airspace control has recorded rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne,” the ministry’s statement read. The Auvergne is deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Syria.
Auvergne is a 'European multi-purpose frigate' (FREMM) which entered the service of the French Navy in February this year. Prior to its official commissioning, the Aquitaine class `warship witnessed deployment across the globe, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
The launch was detected around the same time as air traffic controllers at the Khmeimim Air Base “lost contact” with a military Il-20 aircraft during an attack of Israeli F-16 fighters on Latakia. Fourteen people were on board the plane at the time of the disappearance. A search and rescue mission is underway.
The IDF has refused to comment on the report. Despite the fact that Israel rarely acknowledges striking specific targets inside Syria, earlier this month the IDF admitted to hitting at least 202 “Iranian targets” in the country.
As tensions over Idlib rise, Turkey and Russia on Monday agreed to establish a “demilitarized zone” between militants and government troops as part of an effort to clear the remaining jihadists from Syria.
Russian plane disappears from radars during Israeli attack on Syria’s Latakia
A Russian military Il-20 aircraft with 14 service members on board went off the radars during an attack by four Israeli jets on Syria’s Latakia province, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Air traffic controllers at the Khmeimim Air Base “lost contact” with the aircraft on Monday evening, during the attack of Israeli F-16 fighters on Latakia, said the MOD. The plane was 35 kilometers off the coast of Syria when it vanished.
READ MORE: Russia detects missile launches from French frigate off Syria’s coast in Mediterranean – MoD
Russian radars also registered the launch of missiles from a French frigate in the Mediterranean on the evening of September 17.
Fourteen people were on board the plane at the time of the disappearance. A search and rescue mission is underway.
The Ilyushin 20 (IL-20) surveillance turboprop plane is an Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) platform, equipped with a wide range of antennas, infrared and optical sensors. The aircraft's SLAR (Side-Looking Airborne Radar) and the plane's satellite link allows the Russian military to monitor Syrian skies in real time.
An hour-long attack on Latakia began around 10 pm local time, and targeted a power station as well as two facilities belonging to the Syrian military. Syrian officials said the attack was “foreign” and came “from the sea,” but could not initially confirm rumors that Israel was behind it. Seven people were injured in the attack, according to Syrian officials.
While the Russian military said it recorded four F-16 Israeli jets over Syria at the time of the attack on Latakia, the IDF has refused to comment on the report.
The attack on Latakia came just hours after Russia and Turkey negotiated a partial demilitarization of the Idlib province, which is the last remaining stronghold of anti-government militants, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (also known as the Jabhat Al-Nusra).