Russia Says Worried by Airstrike in Syria

YERUSHALAYIM -
Smoke rises after Syrian state media reported an Israeli missile attack in a container storage area, at Syrian port of Latakia, early Tuesday morning. (SANA/Handout via REUTERS)

The reported Israeli air strike on Syria’s Latakia port overnight on Monday appears to have aggravated tensions with Russia.

Russia’s deputy representative at the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, called such incursions “very worrying…We don’t think that any situations of this kind contribute to the stability of the Middle East or the situation in Syria,” he said, though without naming Israel as the culprit, The Times of Israel reported.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, though they did not disclose whether Syria and Iran were discussed.

The call came immediately after Lavrov spoke to Syrian foreign minister Faysal Mekdad.

Earlier on Tuesday, an Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment saying: “We don’t comment on foreign reports.”

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, visiting an Israeli air-force base did not speak about the specific incident on Tuesday but warned his country would not allow Iran to use Syria to threaten Israel.

“I call upon the region’s countries to stop Iran from violating their sovereignty and people. Israel will not allow Iran to funnel balance-breaching weapons to its proxies and threaten our citizens,” Gantz was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Another Syrian source familiar with Iranian military movements in Syria said Tehran had in recent months transferred weapons by sea as it sought to elude intensified Israeli strikes that struck eastern Syria near a weapons supply corridor along the border with Iraq.

The drone strikes disabled several large weapons convoys sent by Tehran from Iraq, he added in information confirmed by a Western intelligence source.