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Russia criticises Israel for ‘gross violation’ in Syria strikes

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Russia has accused Israel of violating Syria’s sovereignty and threatening two civilian flights after Israeli warplanes launched air raids in Damascus on Tuesday.

“We are very concerned by the attacks and how they were made. This is a gross violation of the sovereignty of Syria,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.

Syrian state media said the country’s air defences intercepted Israeli missiles near Damascus, while Israel said it was protecting itself from anti-aircraft fire.

“An aerial defence system activated in response to an anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria,” the Israeli army’s official Twitter account later said.

Moscow also said the Israeli attacks endangered two passenger planes.

“The provocative actions of the Israeli air force … directly threatened two airliners,” Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

He said the attack from over the Lebanese territory came as “two airliners, not from Russia, were preparing to land at the airports of Beirut and Damascus”.

He said restrictions were imposed on the use of Syrian government forces’ air defence systems “to prevent a tragedy”. One of the planes was redirected to a Russian airbase within Syria.

The Russian defence ministry said three Syrian soldiers were injured in an attack that saw Israeli warplanes drop 16 bombs.

Of these, 14 were destroyed by the Syrian defence systems, according to the ministry.

(Source: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES)


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