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Putin (L) and PM Netanyahu
Photo: EPA
'Iran destabilizing region,' Israel retorts to Russia
Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry again attacks Israel, says bombing of T-4 Airbase in Homs has 'exacerbated situation'; 'Syria being destabilized by Iranian aggression,' swiftly comes the Israeli rejoinder.
After the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said earlier Thursday that the attack on the Tiyas Military Airbase near Syria's Homs "exacerbated the situation in the region," a senior Israeli officially retorted Thursday evening by saying, "What's destabilizing Syria is Iranian aggression and its attempt to militarily entrench itself in Syria to threaten Israel and other countries."

 

 

Earlier in the day, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, "American statements (regarding a retaliatory attack in Syria) were militaristic and the world should comprehend the ramifications of such threats."

 

Putin (L) and Netanyahu exchanged harsh words regarding Israel's alleged attack in Syria (Photo: EPA)
Putin (L) and Netanyahu exchanged harsh words regarding Israel's alleged attack in Syria (Photo: EPA)

 

Zakharova added that following an inquiry by Russian forces stationed in the vicinity, there were no signs of chemical weapons use in the region where such an attack was alleged.

 

Putin speaks with PM Netanyahu, cautions him against 'destabilizing Syria'

The first Russian statement on the matter was issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, when he urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday not to take any action that could destabilize Syria or put its security in peril.

 

In the telephone call, the Prime Minister reiterated that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria, a message by the Prime Minister's Office said.

 

The Kremlin released word of the two leaders' conversation during Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech at the state ceremony commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum.

 

"The Syrian matter was discussed, including the recent missile attack on the T-4 Airbase in Homs, which was carried out by the Israeli Air Force," the Russian statement said, adding the call was held at Israel's behest.


Word of the two leaders' call was released during PM Netanyahu's speech at Yad Vashem (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Word of the two leaders' call was released during PM Netanyahu's speech at Yad Vashem (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

The Kremlin's statement said Putin "underscored the principal importance of observing the sovereignty of Syria and called for holding back from any actions that would further destabilize the situation in this country and present threats to its security."

 

The call was held following an Israeli security official saying that, "No memory of the Assad regime will remain—or of Assad himself—if a wider war breaks out between Israel and Iran in the Syrian theater." Similar, albeit less direct threats were voiced by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

 

Putin and Netanyahu's call was also preceded by a series of decisive Russian statements following the attack on the airbase, which claimed the lives of 14 people—seven of whom were Iranian.

 

Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said the attack signified a "dangerous development," whereas a spokesman for the Kremlin said the Russians were not forewarned, adding, "We have communicated our position to Israel."

 

Defense Secretary Mattis said US still assessing intelligence regarding suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria (Photo: AFP)
Defense Secretary Mattis said US still assessing intelligence regarding suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria (Photo: AFP)

 

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, striking a cautious tone hours after Trump's more pugnacious threat of missile strikes, said the United States was assessing intelligence about the suspected Syrian chemical weapons attack.

 

Asked if he had seen enough evidence to blame Assad, Mattis said, "We're still working on this."

 

Without elaborating, he added that the US military stood ready to provide military options, if appropriate. It was unclear whether his remarks reflected any unease about Trump's apparent move toward military action.

 


פרסום ראשון: 04.12.18, 20:37
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