Moscow calls Israeli strikes in Syria ‘unacceptable,’ ignores rocket fire at Israel

Russia’s FM Lavrov says spread of conflict to neighboring countries ‘impermissible’ after military responded to repeated attacks on Golan Heights since Hamas’s October 7 massacre

Illustrative: Footage purported to show a strike on the Aleppo airport in Syria, October 14, 2023. (Screenshot: X; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
File: Footage purported to show a strike on the Aleppo airport in Syria, October 14, 2023. (Screenshot: X; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

MOSCOW, Russia — Russia condemned increased Israeli airstrikes on Syria as “unacceptable” on Tuesday, saying they risked triggering a spillover of the Israel-Hamas war into a wider regional conflict, while ignoring the Syrian fire toward Israel that preceded them.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a call with his Syrian counterpart Tuesday, in which he stressed Russia’s opposition to Israel’s strikes on Syria, and warned against any actions that could provoke an escalation in the “current explosive situation,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

Israel’s army said it carried out a string of airstrikes on military targets inside Syria in response to multiple incidents of rockets and shells fired at Golan Heights communities in recent weeks.

Concerns of a wider regional conflict are high after October 7, when some 2,500 Hamas terrorists broke through the Gaza border, rampaging through communities and a desert music festival in southern Israel and massacring at least 1,400 people, most of them civilians.

At least 245 civilians and soldiers were kidnapped that day, of whom four have been released by Hamas and one has been rescued by security forces.

Israel has responded with intense strikes on Gaza and a gradually expanding ground operation, declaring its intention to eradicate the terror group that rules the Strip.

File: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looks on during a meeting with his Azerbaijani, Iranian, Armenian and Turkish counterparts to discuss the issues of the South Caucasus region in Tehran on October 23, 2023. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Lavrov said “the spread of the armed escalation to Syria and other countries of the region is impermissible,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a readout of his call with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

“In that regard, [Lavrov] noted the unacceptability of Israeli air strikes on Syrian territory, which have become more frequent against the backdrop of events in the Gaza Strip,” Moscow said.

Russia has for years tried to establish itself as a key power broker in the Middle East, maintaining relations with as many states as possible, alongside the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Moscow is Syria’s key military and political backer.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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