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Russia summons Israeli ambassador over strike on Damascus airport

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Damage to passenger halls at Damascus Airport as seen in a photo released June 11, 2022 by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It said the airport arrival halls were being used as areas for the unobserved arrival of senior figures from the Iranian military and Lebanon's Hezbollah terror group. (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
Damage to passenger halls at Damascus Airport as seen in a photo released June 11, 2022 by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It said the airport arrival halls were being used as areas for the unobserved arrival of senior figures from the Iranian military and Lebanon's Hezbollah terror group. (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)

Russia’s deputy foreign minister summons Israel’s envoy, Alexander Ben Zvi, to express Moscow’s concern over Israel’s purported strike on Damascus International Airport.

According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, the attack damaged the runway and airport buildings, and disrupted the flow of humanitarian supplies to Syrian civilians.

Moscow’s Mikhail Bogdanov tells Ben Zvi that Moscow is not pleased with the justifications offered by Israel, and that it is waiting for additional clarifications “within the framework of the existing Russian-Israeli mechanism.”

Bogdanov also stresses that Russia will not allow Syria to be turned into a theater of war between outside parties, and insists that Israel respect Syria’s territorial integrity.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry does not respond to a request for comment.

The shuttering of the Damascus airport in the most recent strike attributed to Israel, in the pre-dawn hours last Friday, prevented all cargo and civilian flights from Tehran — and elsewhere — from arriving for the time being. Most flights are now being redirected to Aleppo’s airport, and it remains to be seen if Iran will attempt to smuggle weapons there too, until the Damascus airport is repaired.

Over the years, Israel has repeatedly charged Iran with smuggling weapons and missile-improving systems from Tehran to its Lebanese terror proxy Hezbollah using flights via Syria.

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