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Dozens killed as Russian military plane crashes in Syria

Russia's Hmeimim airbase in Syria. [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 March, 2018

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Moscow suffered further military losses in Syria when a transport plane crashed while landing at Russia's airbase in Latakia.

Dozens of people were killed on Tuesday when a Russian transport plane crashed while landing at Moscow's Hmeimim airbase in Syria, the defence ministry said in a statement carried by RIA Novosti.

"The reason for the crash according to preliminary information could have been a technical fault," the ministry said.

The plane had not come under fire according to a report from the ground. 

All 32 on board - 26 passengers and six crew members - were killed, the ministry said. The transporter was around 500 metres from the runway.

A commission will investigate the cause of the crash. 

The latest accident comes after a Sukhoi military jet crashed while trying to take off from Hmeimim in October last year, killing two crew members.

Russia's most recent officially acknowledged military loss in battle in Syria was last month when a pilot was killed after his plane was downed over Idlib province.

Russia's official military losses in the war before the crash were 45.

Russia provides the bulk of the Syrian regime's arsenal, which has been used extensively during the war.

Fighting was sparked in 2011 after peaceful protests were brutally suppressed by regime troops leading to mass defections from the Syrian army. 

Russia joined the war in 2015, after forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad suffered a series of military defeats against the rebels.

Since Russian airstrikes began, regime forces have managed to push the opposition back to a number of enclaves but the cost has been devastating for civilians.

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