War Drums: Russia says Israeli air strikes on Syria must stop

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Wednesday that Israel should stop carrying out what Moscow called arbitrary air strikes on Syria, days after the Israeli air force targeted what Israel said were Iranian forces there.Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova listens during the annual news conference of the Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova speaks during the annual news conference of the Russia’s Foreign Minister 

Israel has repeatedly attacked what it describes as Iranian targets in Syria and those of allied militia, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describes the effort as an open-ended campaign to push back arch-foe Tehr

The strikes have long caused friction between Israel and Russia, which apart from Iran is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s other major foreign backer.

Israeli officials have spoken in the past of an agreement with Moscow under which they have made clear their strikes on Syria would not threaten Assad, while Russia has promised to help limit Iranian influence near the Israeli frontier. A hotline set up since 2015 is aimed at ensuring Russian forces in Syria are not surprised by Israeli attacks.

“The practice of arbitrary strikes on the territory of a sovereign state, in this case, we are talking about Syria, should be ruled out,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, in answer to a question from Russian news agency TASS about recent Israeli air strikes on Syria.

She said such strikes added to tensions in the region, which she said was not in the long-term interests of any country there, including Israel.

“We should never allow Syria, which has suffered years of armed conflict, to be turned into an arena where geopolitical scores are settled,” TASS cited her as saying.

Russia shows missile to disprove U.S. allegation

Her comments follow Israeli strikes in Syria on Monday. Israel did not immediately respond.

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu signalled that the Syria sorties would continue.

“The IDF (Israel Defence Force) is the only military that is fighting the Iranian army in Syria,” he said during a visit to an Israeli army base. “I am certain in our ability to defeat the enemy.”

Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Dan Williams; editing by Andrew OsbornOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Stephen K. Ryan recently authored Amazon best-selling novel, “The Madonna Files” and is a proud member of the International Thriller Writer’s society Stephen has been interviewed numerous times in newspapers, radio and TV including Radio Maria and Guadalupe RadioStephen’s writing has been featured often on American Thinker, Spirit Daily, New Advent, Signs and Wonders, and SpiritDigest.com.Stephen is an avid sailboat racer having competed in dozens of regattas across the country, including ocean races from Annapolis to Newport R.I. from Newport, R.I. to Bermuda.Stephen is married to Tania and they have two children – Andrew and Meredith.