Syrian Civil War

Russia blames Israel after plane shot down by Syrian forces

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia is blaming Israel after a Russian military plane was shot down by Syrian forces, claiming the plane was in the line of fire during an Israeli strike, CNN reports.

The big picture: Israel has acknowledged striking Syria in the past to keep groups like Hezbollah from obtaining advanced weapons, but the deaths of 15 Russian servicemen complicate an already-tense diplomatic situation. Israel's ambassador to Moscow was summoned by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to the incident, per Reuters.

Russia and Turkey agree to demilitarized zone in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan shaking hands with Vladimir Putin
Turkish President Erdogan (L) shaking hands with Russian President Putin (R). Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to establish a 9- to 15-mile demilitarized zone in the Syrian province of Idlib to separate rebel fighters and Syrian government forces, reports BBC News.

Why it matters: Idlib is the last rebel stronghold left in Syria. The United Nations has warned that an offensive by the Syrian government could lead to a massive humanitarian disaster, with more than 30,000 civilians already displaced by attacks last week.