Introduction by the Senior Editor
From Haaretz moments ago:
The Syrian and Russian air forces and air-defense batteries work together, in joint operation rooms and air-traffic control centers. The Syrians use Russian-made aircraft and missiles. The Ilyushin would have been equipped with IFF (identification, friend or foe) transponders and both militaries will have procedures to prevent "friendly fire" incidents. A Syrian anti-aircraft missile, made in Russia, should not have shot down a friendly Russian aircraft.
We now have doubts contradicting Russia's claim that the shoot down was accidental. It is unlikely that a Syrian S200 would or could hit a Russian aircraft with IFF (Identify Friend/Foe) transponder, even if shadowed by Israeli F 16s. This is Israel's new version of events from Haaretz:
"Something was obviously going on Monday night. Not only Russian and (allegedly) Israeli and French aircraft and missiles were in the air. Civilian radar also tracked British Royal Air Force aircraft, which, unusually, had switched on their transponders and gone into holding patterns – most likely to avoid being somehow involved in the exchange of fire over Latakia. The Ilyushin Il-20 was not so fortunate.