Russian cargo plane crashes in Syria, 32 dead

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Na Son Nguyen
FILE- In this file photo dated Sunday, 9 March 2014, a Vietnamese air force aircraft AN-26 is seen at a base in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Russia’s Defense Ministry says an AN-26 Russian military cargo plane of the same type has crashed in Syria, killing 32 people onboard. (AP Photo/Na Son Nguyen, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — A military cargo plane crashed as it was descending to land at a Russian air base in Syria on Tuesday, killing all 32 people onboard, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Russian military said an An-26, with 26 passengers and six crew members onboard, crashed just 500 meters (1,600 feet) from the runway. The military blamed the crash on a technical error.

Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, leases the 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. The Russian military insisted the cargo plane did not come under fire, while saying it would conduct a full investigation.

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