Assad saddened by crash of Russian military plane

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al Assad said on Sunday he was “saddened by the crash of a Russian military plane on its way to Syria as its crew had wanted to celebrate his army’s victory in Aleppo, but the fight against Islamist militants would not be affected.

FILE PHOTO: Singers and orchestra members of Red Army Choir, also known as the Alexandrov Ensemble, perform in Moscow, Russia March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

In a condolence message sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad said the two countries were partners in the “fight to lay the foundations of stability, security and peace” in Syria. Russian-backed government forces ousted the last rebels from the city of Aleppo on Thursday after years of fighting.

The Russian TU-154 plane carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army Choir singers, dancers and orchestra members, crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria on Sunday, killing everyone on board, Russian authorities said.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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