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32 killed as Russian military plane crashes in Syria

The An-26 had 26 passengers and six crew members onboard.

A military cargo plane has crashed as it was descending to land at a Russian air base in Syria, killing all 32 people onboard, Russia’s Defence Ministry has said.

The Russian military said an An-26, with 26 passengers and six crew members onboard, crashed 1,600ft from the runway.

The military blamed the crash on a technical error.

Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, leases Hemeimeem military base in Syria, near the Mediterranean coast.

The base is far from the front lines of the conflict, but came under shelling in December.

An An-26 Russian military cargo plane (AP/Na Son Nguyen)

The Russian military insisted the cargo plane did not come under fire, while saying it would conduct a full investigation.

President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to the families of those killed in the crash, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying.

Mr Peskov said Mr Putin had received a briefing from defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

It was the second Russian military plane to crash in Syria this year, after a Su-25 ground attack jet was struck by a portable air defence missile over Idlib province last month.

The Antonov An-26 is a twin-engine transport plane designed in the late 1960s in the Soviet Union. Large numbers have remained in service in Russia and many other countries around the world.

An An-26 belonging to a military flight school crash-landed and caught fire south east of Moscow in May last year, killing one crew member.

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