Middle East

Israeli airstrikes against Syria meant to provoke Moscow to respond, Russian ambassador to Damascus says

Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Efimov has roundly denounced Israeli airstrikes against various targets in Syria, arguing that the aerial assaults are aimed at “provoking” Moscow to react and respond to the incessant acts of aggression against the war-ravaged Arab country.

Efimov noted that Israeli strikes aim to “escalate tensions and allow the West to carry out military activities in Syria.”

The remarks are one of the strongest Russian condemnations of Israeli operations in Syria.

Israel frequently targets military positions inside Syria, especially those of the resistance movement Hezbollah which has played a key role in helping the Syrian army in its fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

The Tel Aviv regime mostly keeps quiet about its attacks on Syrian territories which many regard as a knee-jerk reaction to the Syrian government’s increasing success in confronting terrorism.

Israel has been a key supporter of terrorist groups that have opposed the government of President Bashar al-Assad since the foreign-backed militancy erupted in Syria in March 2011.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing an unnamed military official, reported that Israeli jets struck several sites near the capital Damascus at around 5 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) on March 7, killing two people and causing material damage.

The official said most of the incoming missiles were intercepted by Syrian air defenses.

In the early hours of March 13, a dozen ballistic missiles fired by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) hit secret bases of the Israeli Mossad spy agency in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, which is the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. The attack reportedly left several Israeli operatives dead.

In a statement issued later in the day, the IRGC indicated that the operation was in response to a recent Israeli airstrike on the Syrian capital of Damascus, in which two IRGC officers were killed.

The IRGC identified the two officers as colonels Ehsan Karbalaipour and Morteza Saeidnejad, warning that “Israel would pay for this crime.”


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