Israel Must Stop Syria Strikes, Moscow Says

Russian deputy foreign minister says 'such arbitrary attacks' should end ■ Netanyahu set to meet Putin this month

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Photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows missiles flying into the sky near international airport, in Damascus, Syria, , Jan. 21, 2019.
Photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows missiles flying into the sky near international airport, in Damascus, Syria, , Jan. 21, 2019. Credit: SANA via AP

Israel must stop conducting air strikes in Syria, Moscow said Friday, according to Russian news outlet Sputnik News.

"With regard to the latest Israeli attacks, we said that such arbitrary attacks on sovereign Syrian territory should be stopped and excluded," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said, Sputnik reported. "Any strikes destabilise the situation even more. No one should conduct actions in Syria that go beyond the scope of antiterrorist objectives."

>> Russia may call shots in Syria, but U.S. Mideast dominance remains unchallenged | Analysis ■ In the glass house called Syria, Iran has thrown one too many stones | Analysis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 21 in Moscow following brief talks that took place at the Paris Peace Forum in November, as well as a series of phone calls between the two leaders.

The meeting comes after tensions between the two countries rose in recent weeks following Israeli airstrikes on Damascus Airport last month. Twenty-one people were killed in the extensive strike, according to a war watchdog. At least 12 of them were members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

The airstrike destroyed Russian military infrastrucure, including SA2, SA3, SA17 air-defense systems, an SA22 TELAR, and a J27 Radar.

After the strike, Moscow warned against "arbitrary" airstrikes in Syria. "We should never allow Syria, which has suffered years of armed conflict, to be turned into an arena where geopolitical scores are settled," added Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

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