Russia upset over Israel’s aerial strikes on Syria, its envoy tells UNSC

“We believe it is absolutely imperative to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other states in the region,” Moscow’s Foreign Ministry stated.

Moscow opposes Israel’s aerial attack against Iranian military facilities in Syria, its Chargé d’Affaires Dmitry Polyanskiy told the United Nations Security Council in New York on Wednesday.

“Israel’s missile strikes on Syria that have intensified recently, also run counter to normalization efforts in the region. Such acts cause our utmost concern and resentment, Polyanskiy said.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry also issued a statement against the attack against over 20 Iranian and Syrian targets.

“We believe it is absolutely imperative to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other states in the region. So far, Israeli actions have ratcheted up tension and conflict potential of the situation around Syria, and are running counter to the efforts to normalize the situation and achieve stability and a political settlement in Syria,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

Israel and Russia have a deconfliction agreement, which allows the airforce to strike Iranian targets in Syria, without the risk of hitting Russian forces. In spite of this agreement, Israeli aerial attacks against Iranian military targets and Iranian proxies have created tension between Jerusalem and Moscow.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN in New York defended Israel’s strike in Syria, noting that it came after rockets were launched at northern Israel from Syria and warned of additional retaliatory moves if the violence continued.

“We struck numerous Iranian military sites in Syria,” Danny Danon told reporters outside the UNSC chambers. “It was Iranian facilities that we attacked. We will not tolerate any aggression against Israel. We will attack forcibly anyone who will attack Israel,” he stated.

The rocket attacks against Israel earlier were “unprovoked” and were the result of “aggression coming from Syria by Iranian proxies,” Danon said. “No other nation would allow those attacks to go unpunished.”

France urged Iran to refrain from destabilizing actions in Syria and said it remained committed to Israel’s security.

“France reaffirms its unwavering commitment to Israel’s security,” Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily online briefing.

“It reaffirms that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis and stresses the need to avoid a dangerous escalation of tensions in the Middle East. It asks Iran to refrain from any destabilizing activity in Syria.”

Syrian state media reported two civilians were killed and several others injured in the attacks, but said Syria’s air defenses destroyed most of the missiles fired by Israeli jets over Damascus, the capital, before they reached their targets.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said 11 people were killed, including seven who were not from Syria, citing its own sources.

An Israeli official who requested anonymity said a preliminary and yet unconfirmed tally put the number of fatalities at between 10 and 20 military personnel, “about two-thirds of them Iranian and a third (of them) Syrian.”

Israel’s military said its missile defense system shot down four rockets fired from Syria toward Israel on Tuesday.

The elite Quds Force is the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The Observatory said weapons and ammunition storage facilities belonging to the Al Quds force were destroyed in the attack.

Israel says it has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria against Iranian targets trying to establish a permanent military presence there and against advanced weapons shipments to Tehran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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