Russia demands Israel unconditionally cease its ‘unacceptable’ Syria airstrikes

Moscow on Monday condemned an alleged Israeli airstrike near a Russian stronghold in Syria over the weekend, calling Israel’s years-long air campaign in Syria “categorically unacceptable” and demanding it cease.

“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,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

The relatively rare daytime strike on Saturday targeted an area near the Syrian town of al-Hamidiyah, south of Tartus, which is home to Russia’s main naval base in the region. Two civilians were injured and serious damage was caused to civilian infrastructure, Moscow said.

Syria has fingered Israel as responsible as well, though the IDF has yet to respond, in line with its policy of generally maintaining silence regarding specific actions in Syria.

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel has said in the past that it targets bases of Iran-allied militias, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah group that has fighters deployed in Syria, as well as arms shipments believed to be bound for various proxies in the region.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based opposition group of unclear funding, said Saturday’s strike targeted weapons en route to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon. The claim was not confirmed by any other organizations.

Quoting a military source, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said the missiles were launched Saturday by Israeli fighter jets over the Mediterranean Sea, west of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, at the Syrian town of al-Hamidiyah, south of Tartus.

While most alleged Israeli attacks in Syria typically take place under the cover of darkness, Saturday’s alleged strike was conducted at around 6:30 a.m., during daylight hours.

According to SANA, “poultry farms” were targeted in the airstrike, and two civilians were hurt. Their conditions were not immediately clear. Damage was also caused to the site.

Syria often claims targets of Israeli strikes as being non-military.

Video footage broadcast by SANA showed rubble at what it said was the site of the targeted facility.

Israeli strikes have continued in Syrian airspace, which is largely controlled by Russia, even as ties with Moscow have deteriorated in recent months. Israel has found itself at odds with Russia as it has increasingly supported Ukraine while seeking to maintain freedom of movement in Syria’s skies.

The last strike in Syria attributed to Israel was on June 10, when the Damascus International Airport was targeted in a major attack and forced to be shuttered for two weeksfollowing accusations by Israel that Iran had been smuggling weaponry to the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, via civilian flights to Syria.

Then too, Russia issued a harsh condemnation, demanding an end to such strikes that violate Syria’s sovereignty.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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