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Year 24
Month 06
Day 07
dividerNews ArchivedividerRussia Warns of 'Dangerous Escalation' after Israeli Airstrikes in Syria
Russia Warns of 'Dangerous Escalation' after Israeli Airstrikes in Syria

A senior Russian official has warned against further escalation in the Middle East after Israel carried out an airstrike in Syria, only to have one of its F-16s shot down for the first time.  

 

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov also said Monday Russia, Turkey and Iran have discussed a possible meeting of their foreign ministers on Syria, which could be held in Kazakhstan's Astana in March. 

"We call on everyone to be calm, to prevent a very dangerous escalation in countries of the region," RIA Novosti quoted Bogdanov as saying.

Following the Israeli airstrike, President Vladimir Putin on Saturday asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during phone talks to avoid moves that could lead to “a new round of dangerous consequences for the region.”

The official announcement by the Russian Foreign Ministry objected to the violation of Syrian sovereignty and totally ignored Tel Aviv's claims that it had responded to the infiltration of an Iranian drone into Israeli airspace.

The Russians are also concerned about the proximity of the Israeli bombings to sites where their soldiers and advisers are serving, including base T-4 near Palmyra.

Israel claims it bombed a post controlled by Iran near T-4 from which the anti-aircraft missile was fired and downed its jet. 

Bogdanov said Russia has no information about Iran having a military base near Palmyra. “No, I do not have such information,” Bogdanov told reporters when asked whether Moscow was aware of such a post.

Israel released a grainy footage allegedly showing the downing of an Iranian drone by an Israeli attack helicopter and the subsequent airstrike on the Syrian soil. 

Tehran has dismissed the allegations as "ridiculous," while Damascus has said the Syrian army had launched the drone to track down Daesh terrorists when an Israeli helicopter violated its airspace and shot it down.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday the Islamic Republic has only an "advisory, not a military presence" in Syria. 

On Sunday, Aida Touma-Sliman, an Israeli lawmaker, said Netanyahu was seeking to instigate a regional war to deflect attention from an ongoing investigation into his suspicious corrupt practices.

“Netanyahu is willing to instigate a regional war in which the peoples of the region will pay a heavy price just for his political survival,” she warned


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