Russia is raising concerns over reports of an Israeli air attack on Syria near Damascus, claiming that any such action would amount to unacceptable military interference in the country.
Syria’s army claimed Israeli jets targetted a military research facility north-west of Damascus on Wednesday but denied reports that lorries carrying weapons for Lebanon were hit.
Russia has refused to denounce president Bashar al-Assad’s regime during the ongoing conflict that has seen nearly 60,000 killed. The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned Israel against carrying out “unprovoked attacks” in breach of the UN charter.
A Russian statement explained: “If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it”.
Russia has been trying to shield President Assad from pressure to end the civil war against opposition forces that has ravaged the country with Moscow repeatedly speaking out against foreign interference in Syria.
Reports claimed that Israeli warplanes bombed a convoy near Syria’s border with Lebanon, targeting weapons that were destined for Hezbollah as a warning to Damascus not to arm Israel’s enemies in Lebanon.
Israel’s national security adviser was despatched to Russia and their military intelligence chief travelled to the United States for consultations over the conflict in Syria.
Shashank Joshi of the Royal United Services Institute in London believes the strike was intended to deliver a signal rather than signalling an escalation from Israel.
“The Israelis are sending a message not just to Hezbollah but also to Assad’s forces that they have no wish to get dragged in, but chemical weapons and certain types of missiles are a red line for them, and that regime forces ought to signal, in turn, to Hezbollah that they should proceed with caution.”
Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah today accused Israel of “barbaric agression” saying the country targeted a “scientific research center”. In a statement the group said they express “full solidarity with Syria’s command, army and people”.