A Russian military transport plane crashed in Syria yesterday killing all 39 people on board, Russian officials said. The Kremlin said in a statement that the plane, a Soviet-designed An-26, crashed at Russia's Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province. The cause may have been a technical malfunction. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in a telegram offering his condolences, said when the crash happened, the service personnel on board were returning to base after completing an unspecified combat mission. The incident has sharply raised the death toll from the Kremlin's intervention in the Syrian war. President Vladimir Putin, who is running for re-election later this month, declared in December that the Russian mission in Syria was largely completed, but casualties continue to mount.