AMMAN Dec 25 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.
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)