Assad sees key Russia role after Syria-Israel strikes

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) giving an interview to a Belgian media outlet on February 7, 2017 AFP

MOSCOW —

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday said Russia can play an important role in the crisis following Syria’s firing missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes in the conflict-torn country.

“Russia can play a role so that Israel no longer attacks Syria,” Assad told Russian journalists.

“I think Russia can play an important role in this regard.”

Russia’s foreign ministry on Monday summoned Israel’s ambassador over air strikes close to Moscow’s forces near the historic Syrian city of Palmyra.

The air strikes on Friday prompted retaliatory Syrian missile launches, in the most serious incident between the two countries since the war began six years ago.

Israel’s military said it had been targeting weapons bound for Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, which backs the Damascus regime in Syria.

Assad was quoted in comments translated into Russian that “any military operation in Syria that does not have the consent of the Syrian government is illegal”.

“If there are some troops on Syrian soil, it is an invasion,” he said, adding that the “protection of our borders is a right and a duty”.

Syria’s military said it had downed an Israeli plane and hit another as they were carrying out pre-dawn strikes near Palmyra, but the Israeli military denied that any planes had been hit.

On Sunday, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to destroy Syria’s air defense systems “without the slightest hesitation” if it happened again.

Russia and Israel had already set up a “hotline” aimed at avoiding air clashes over Syria, which Moscow said it would like to see work more effectively.

For its part Israel has said that it does not usually inform Moscow ahead of time when it will carry out an air strike.

© 2017 AFP

  • -1

    Burning Bush

    in the crisis following Syria’s firing missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes in the conflict-torn country.

    Interesting word order from the AFP.

    Which came first, Syria firing missiles or Israel invading Syrian Airspace and firing missiles into Syria?

    I won't hold my breath for the US State Department to condemn this blatant invasion of sovereignty.

  • 0

    Goodlucktoyou

    Stikes should be edited to terriorst strikes. Imagine if china bombed army bases in Okinawa? Would they be stikes?

  • 0

    TravelingSales

    Should we be allowed to kill terrorists while they are taking delivery of weapons or should we give them a sporting chance to kill a few civilians by not hitting them until after they have used the weapons?

  • -2

    Fred Wallace

    Should we be allowed to kill terrorists while they are taking delivery of weapons or should we give them a sporting chance to kill a few civilians by not hitting them until after they have used the weapons?

    With that flawless logic, america should be dropping hell fire on saudi arabia for its mass terror against people in Yemen!! Talk about hypocrisy!!

  • 1

    lostrune2

    I won't hold my breath for the US State Department to condemn this blatant invasion of sovereignty.

    Especially not with Trump giving Israel a blank check

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