Russian cargo plane crashes in Syria, killing 39, military says

A Russian cargo plane crashed in Syria on Tuesday, killing all 39 people onboard, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

The An-26 plane crashed while attempting to land at Khmeimim Air Base, located near the Syrian coastal city of Latakia. The plane, carrying 33 passengers and six crew members, was 1,600 feet from the runway. Reports initially said there were 26 passengers on the plane. The people aboard the plane were Russian servicemen.

The military said preliminary reports indicated the deadly crash was caused by a technical error.

"The plane was not shot down," the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation reported, according to Russia's REN TV. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin received a briefing about the deadly crash and offered his condolences to the victims’ families.  

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in a statement on the government's website said he was "deeply shaken" by the crash, which had caused "an irreparable loss."

Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, leases a 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. 

Tuesday’s crash was also the second military plane to crash in Syria this year. Su-25 ground attack jet was struck by a portable air defense missile over the northern Idlib province last month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam