March 6 (UPI) — A Russian military transport plane crashed as it was about to land in Syria on Tuesday, killing all 32 people on board.
The Antonov-26 aircraft crashed at Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in the Latakia province, killing the 26 passengers and six crew members on board, according to a Russian state news agency.
Preliminary data suggest a technical malfunction could be to blame, causing the aircraft to crash about one-third of a mile short of the runway, according to the defense ministry, which is investigating the crash.
Deaths in Syria are mounting as weeks of combat continue between rebel groups and the Syrian government, backed by Russian airpower.
The airbase is the main site for Russia’s military campaign in Syria but officials say the plane did not come under fire.