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‘First ever flight' from Israel to regime-controlled Syria recorded Open in fullscreen

Kamal Afzali

‘First ever flight' from Israel to regime-controlled Syria recorded

Russia operates the Hmeimim airbase in Syria's eastern province of Latakia [TASS]

Date of publication: 28 April, 2021

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The Russian flight appears to be the first of its kind connecting Israel's Ben Gurion airport with Syria's Latakia governate, a regime stronghold.
A Russian military plane has flown from Tel Aviv to the Syrian-regime controlled area of Latakia, where a Moscow-run airbase is located, according to flight tracking data.

The flight appears to be the first of its kind connecting Israel's Ben Gurion airport with Latakia, a Syrian regime stronghold, despite Israel and Syria technically being in a state of war since 1948.

Enab Baladi followed data from FlightRadar24.com which shows the Russian Air Force's Tupolev Tu-134AK, bearing the registration number RA-65992, departing Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport and flying north toward Syria, arriving at Latakia 17:15 local time (15:15 GMT).

Russia has waged a military campaign in support of President Bashar Assad's regime since 2015, helping him to retake control over most of the country after a devastating ten-year military campaign.

As part of its powerful military foothold in the country, Russia operates the Hmeimim airbase - 24km southeast of the port city of Latakia - on a 49-year lease from the Syrian regime.

Read also: Russia given green light to expand Syria airbase

The New Arab has reviewed the flight data which shows the Russian flight departing from Tel Aviv. While its destination is unlisted, the flight path shows it ends by encircling a region near Hmeimim airbase, which is adjacent to the civilian Bassel Al-Assad International Airport.

The flight is preceded by one showing the aircraft travelling from Moscow to Tel Aviv and followed by another indicating a flight path from Latakia back to Moscow.

The rare Syria-Israel flight drew the attention of Israeli media, with Avi Sharf, the editor of the English edition of Haaretz, live-tweeting the event.

Hundreds of Israeli air strikes have struck Syria since the civil war began in 2011, mostly targeting the regime's allies - Iranian militias and Lebanese movement Hezbollah.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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