Russia's President Vladimir Putin with Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to a joint press conference in Moscow's Kremlin, on November 20, 2013. (Photo: MAXIM SHEMETOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia Calls On Israel To Scale Back ‘Arbitrary’ Attacks In Syria

After Israel launched a major military operation targeting Iranian assets in Syria, Russia called on the Jewish state to scale back its 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,” a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman asserted. The Israeli army earlier this week destroyed upwards of  three dozen sites in and around Damascus, including air defense batteries and, most notably, stations manned by members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force. A report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that 21 people were killed in the large-scale aerial mission, twelve of them Iranian soldiers. Meanwhile, Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov also stressed that Moscow “does not want an escalation [of tensions] between Iran and Israel,” and suggested that Jerusalem’s new policy of claiming responsibility for attacks in Syria is politically-motivated and connected to the upcoming April 9 elections. He also intimated that Russia is willing to mediate negotiations between the Jewish state and the Shiite Islamic Republic. In response, an Israeli minister and close ally of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated that Jerusalem has made explicit to Russia its intention to uphold its red lines in Syria: namely, to prevent Iranian-backed Shiite mercenaries from establishing forward-operating bases in the Golan Heights; preclude the transfer of advanced weaponry to Tehran’s Lebanon-based Hizbullah proxy; and thwart the Islamic Republic’s broader effort to entrench itself militarily deep inside the war-torn country.

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