Air strike in Syria (archive)
Air strike in Syria (archive) Reuters

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that an air strike in Damascus attributed to Israel overnight Wednesday placed a civilian aircraft in serious danger, forcing it to divert to the Russian airbase in Khmeimim.

The ministry said the civil Airbus-320 with 172 passengers on board was trying to land at Damascus airport when the air strikes took place.

The ministry further claimed that it had become “common practice” for Israeli pilots to use civilian aircraft to “shield” themselves from Syria’s air defenses.

The air strike overnight Wednesday reportedly targeted an outpost used by an Iranian militia in the Damascus area.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the air strike killed 23 Syrian and non-Syrian fighters aligned with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime.

Israel did not comment on the reports.