13:24 GMT20 June 2021
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    Syrian President Bashar Assad, commenting on a statement by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman about the intention to destroy Syria's air defense systems in the event of attacks on Israeli aircraft, told Russian journalists that the protection of Syria's borders is the right and duty of the Syrian authorities.

    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — He added that he thought Russia could play an important role in that regard while being guided by international law.

    "Defending our borders is our right, and it's our duty, not only our right. If we don't do it as officials when we can do it, we should be blamed by the Syrian people, we should be held accountable. So, we don't have to ask ourselves that question, whether there were statements by Israeli officials or not. We don't base our policy and decisions on their statements," Assad told Russian journalists.

    Last week, Israeli forces carried out airstrikes on the Syrian territory saying that they targeted a convoy supposedly carrying weapons to the Shiite Hezbollah movement.

    On the same day, the Syrian Army command said in a statement that it had downed one of four Israeli Air Force jets that violated its airspace and purportedly targeted Syrian units near Palmyra.

    Following the incident, Moscow summoned Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren to inquire about airstrikes on Syrian troops near Palmyra.


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