Russia swipes at Israel over ‘unacceptable’ airstrikes in Syria

Joshua Davidovich is The Times of Israel's Deputy Editor

Moscow is condemning an alleged Israeli airstrike near a Russian stronghold in Syria, calling Israel’s year-long air campaign in Syria “categorically unacceptable.”

“We strongly condemn such irresponsible actions that violate the sovereignty of Syria and the basic norms of international law, and we demand their unconditional cessation,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova says.

The rare daytime strike on Saturday targeted an area near the Syrian town of al-Hamidiyah, south of Tartus, which is home to Russia’s main naval base in the region.

Syria claimed that the missile attack hit chicken coops, while an Israeli TV report claimed it struck “game changing” air defense systems being shipped from Iran to Syria. Both Syria and Iran rely on advanced Russian air defense systems.

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria over the years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. It says it targets bases of Iran and allied militias, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah group that has fighters deployed in Syria, as well as arms shipments believed to be bound for various proxies.

Russia has generally turned a blind eye to the strikes and rarely comments on them, except in times of tension with Jerusalem.

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