Russia criticises Israeli strikes in Syria

Saul Bowman
December 27, 2018

The TV, quoting an unnamed military official, identified the warplanes as Israeli.

According to UK-based war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the Israeli missile salvo was launched from above Lebanon and targeted rural areas in western and southwestern Damascus.

Syrian state media reported earlier in the evening downing several "hostile targets" near Damascus. Lebanon's state-run National News Agency earlier reported that Israeli warplanes were flying at low altitude over parts of southern Lebanon.

In messages sent to the United Nations secretary-general and the president of the Security Council, the ministry said the Israeli airstrike wouldn't have been launched if it wasn't for what it called "unlimited" US support for Israel.

Almost an hour after the attacks began, Damascus residents could still hear the air defence units firing towards targets in the air.

"The aggression is still ongoing, " said a presenter on state TV, which interrupted its programs to air patriotic songs.

An Israeli security official has confirmed responsibility for airstrikes in Syria, saying the air force had hit a series of targets involved in Iranian arms transfers to the Hezbollah militant group.

A video released by the Israelis on Wednesday showed an officer shouting across the border and warning residents of the Lebanese village of Ayta ash-Shab that they were in danger and to stand far away.

Israel's military spokesman's unit did not confirm the raids, but said in a statement that "an aerial defense system was activated against an anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria". The comments highlighted the increasingly tense relations between Israel and Russia, which have grown strained since the September downing of a Russian plane by Syrian forces responding to another Israeli raid.

He said the targets were primarily storage and logistics facilities used by archenemy Iran to ship weapons to Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese group that fought Israel in a 2006 war. Tuesday's attack is the first since a missile assault on the southern outskirts of Damascus on November 29.

It wasn't clear if the Syrian military used any of the advanced S-300 air defense missile systems that Russian Federation delivered in October to beef up its air defenses. The Israel Defense Forces said there was no damage or injuries from the surface-to-air missile fired from Syria at Israel. Ankara views the Kurdish forces as terrorists due to their links to an insurgent group in Turkey.

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