Israel's 'Arbitrary' Airstrikes on Syria Must Stop, Russia Warns

Syria's UN envoy says on the same day that if Israel attacks Damascus, it can reach Tel Aviv as well

File photo: Missile fire over Damascus, Syria, January 21, 2019.
SANA via Reuters

Russia said on Wednesday that Israel should stop carrying out what it called arbitrary air strikes on Syria days after the Israeli air force targeted Iranian forces there. 

Israel, which regards Iran as its biggest threat, has repeatedly attacked Iranian targets in Syria and those of allied militia, including Lebanon's Hezbollah

"The practice of arbitrary strikes on the territory of a sovereign state, in this case, we are talking about Syria, should be ruled out," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, in answer to a question from Russian news agency TASS about recent Israeli air strikes on Syria. 

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She said such strikes added to tensions in the region, something she said was not in the long-term interests of any country there, including Israel. 

"We should never allow Syria, which has suffered years of armed conflict, to be turned into an arena where geopolitical scores are settled," TASS cited her as saying. 

Also on Wednesday, Syria's UN envoy called on the Security Council to take measures against Israel's assault on Syrian territories, as reported by the Syrian news agency Sana, wondering whether it would take a Syrian attack on Tel Aviv Airport to draw the council's attention.

"Does drawing the attention of the war-makers in this Council require us to exercise our legitimate right to self-defense and respond to Israeli aggression on Damascus International Airport by responding in the same way on Tel Aviv Airport?" the Syrian envoy, Dr. Bashar Al-Ja'afari, asked. 

On Sunday night, the Israeli military announced that it struck Syrian and Iranian targets, including sites of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, in response to a surface-to-surface missile fired toward northern Israel a day earlier. Satellite images show that damage was incurred to several structures in Damascus International Airport.

Twenty-one people were killed in the strike, according to a war watchdog report on Tuesday, which also noted that at least 12 of them were members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Earlier on Wednesday, Syria's United Nations envoy called on the world body's Security Council to take measures against Israel's actions.

"Does drawing the attention of the war-makers in this Council require us to exercise our legitimate right to self-defense and respond to Israeli aggression on Damascus International Airport by responding in the same way on Tel Aviv Airport?" the Syrian envoy, Dr. Bashar Al-Ja'afari, asked. 

Al-Ja'afri also accused UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov of being equivocal rather than definitive in calling out Israel's "daily crimes" and breaches of UN resolutions.