Russia condemns Israel for 'air aggression' on Syria

Kremlin calls strike 'irresponsible actions that violate the sovereignty of Syria and the basic norms of international law' and demands 'unconditional cessation'

Reuters, Itamar Eichner|
Russia's foreign ministry on Monday called strikes on Syria that have been blamed on Israel unacceptable, and demanded an unconditional cessation of the attacks.
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  • Syria on Saturday accused Israel of launching an "air aggression" from the Mediterranean west of Lebanon's second-largest city Tripoli, with several missiles targeting an area to the south of Tartus.
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    Aftermath of the alleged Israeli strike south of Tartus
    The Israeli military declined to comment on the strikes, which would be the first since Prime Minister Yair Lapid took office as the head of Israel's interim government ahead of a Nov. 1 election.
    "We strongly condemn such irresponsible actions that violate the sovereignty of Syria and the basic norms of international law, and we demand their unconditional cessation," the Russian foreign ministry said in comments about the July 2 strikes.
    The Syrian ministry of defense said the strikes injured two civilians and caused some material damage.
    Israel is said to have conducted hundreds of attacks in Syria in recent years as part of its efforts to prevent Iran's entrenchment in the war-torn country and deny the provision of advanced weapon systems to its proxies.
    The port city of Tartus lies about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the Lebanese border and is home to a Russian naval base.
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    The July 2 strike
    The base holds great strategic significance for Moscow as it is its only naval base along the Mediterranean and is a key factor in Russia's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
    A large portion of the port is leased to the Russians, except for several docks that still serve the Syrian economy. These docks are also used for the unloading of Iranian fuel that is then transferred for Syrian and Hezbollah use.
    The Russian condemnation indicates the Kremlin fears Israel is trying to establish new "rules of engagement" in Syria and accustom it to repeated attacks even in the vicinity of the strategic port.
    However, Israel avoids attacking the port for fear of unintentionally harming Russian military personnel and civilians and damaging Russian warships anchored there.
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