Strike rebuked

Russia condemns Israeli airstrike on Syria.
Russia condemns Israeli airstrike on Syria.

MOSCOW — Russia has expressed concern at an alleged Israeli attack on Syria, saying such a strike would be an unacceptable violation of the UN Charter.

Syria’s army said Israeli jets had targeted a military research centre north-west of Damascus yesterday.

It denied reports that lorries carrying weapons bound for Lebanon were hit.

Russia has steadfastly refused to denounce Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the 22-month conflict that has killed more than 60,000 people.

The Syrian army statement, carried on state media, said Israeli fighter jets had carried out a direct strike on a scientific research centre in Jamraya, killing two people and injuring five.


The Russian Foreign Ministry said: “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.”

Relations between Russia and Israel have been improving in recent years as trade and economic ties have grown stronger, says the BBC’s Steve Rosenberg in Moscow.

But Moscow is a close ally of President Assad, which would explain its concern at the reports, our correspondent adds.

The attack came as Israel voiced fears that Syrian missiles and chemical weapons could fall into the hands of militants such as the Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah.

Israel and the US have declined to comment on the reported incident.

Any Israeli attack on Syria side could cause a major diplomatic incident, analysts say, as Iran has said it will treat any Israeli attack on its ally Syria as an attack on itself.

Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi condemned the alleged air strike as an “overt assault based on the West’s policy” to undermine stability in Syria, adding that it would have “serious consequences”.

“Israel is closer today to confrontation on the northern front more than it has been at any point since the Second Lebanon War,” he said. (BBC)

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