The Syrian foreign ministry on Monday issued a statement condemning the killing of protestors on the Israeli border on Sunday in what it described as "flagrant Israeli aggression" against unarmed civilians.
Damascus is using 'Naksa Day' events to divert the international community's attention from its own violent crackdown of anti-government protests. The attack exposed Israel's terrorist policy, the Syrian statement read.
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Meanwhile, the United States said Monday that Syria was "clearly" behind the lethal confrontations and that Israel has a right to defend itself.
"This is clearly an attempt by Syria to incite these kinds of protests," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, saying Damascus hoped to divert attention from its own internal problems. "Israel, like any sovereign nation, has a right to defend itself."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed the border clashes in a Likud faction meeting on Monday. "They were not incidental," he said. "There is an attempt to inflame the border."
The prime minister stressed that soldiers fired at the protestors as a last resort. "We must defend our borders, as any country is obligated to do. The IDF followed international law codes, we warned we would defend our borders. We issued warnings to neighboring states as well as repeated alerts on the field."
'Clashes were not incidental' (Photo: George Ginsburg)
Netanyahu also accused the Syrian regime of failing to prevent the clashes. "Sadly, I cannot say that the Syrian government pulled all its weight to prevent the provocations. It allowed these people to cause provocations that challenged Israel's sovereignty.
"There is an attempt to divert international attention away from events inside Syria."
Netanyahu also declared "we maintain our right to defend our borders, communities and citizens. We shall do so with the utmost restraint and responsibility."
Earlier on Monday, dozens arrived at the Shouting Hill near the Syrian border but did not approach the fence. The IDF is prepared for any possible infiltration attempt.
Russia said on Monday it was "deeply concerned" by an upsurge in confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians.
"We express deep concern in relation to the new surge of Israeli-Palestinian confrontations. The death and injury of many peaceful demonstrators in the course of these protests is of particular concern," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Reuters and AFP contributed to this report
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