16:57 GMT25 February 2021
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    The Russian Defence Ministry has stated that neither of the passenger planes that were threatened due to the Israeli assault on Syria were related to Russian air carriers.

    Six Israeli F-16 fighter jets directly threatened two civilian planes during their recent strikes on Syria, Gen. Maj. Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman of the Russian Defence Ministry, said on Wednesday.

    "Provocative actions of the Israeli Air Force on the evening of 25 December, when six F-16 aircraft launched an airstrike on the territory of Syria from the airspace of neighbouring Lebanon, created a direct threat to two passenger aircraft," the spokesman said.

    READ MORE: WATCH Syrian Air Defences Intercept Missiles Near Damascus

    According to Konashenkov, the attack was carried out while two commercial aircraft were landing at airports in Beirut and Damascus. He specified that the two passenger planes did not belong to Russian air carriers.

    Lebanese Minister of Public Works and Transport Youssef Fenianos, for his part, said that two civilian aircraft were on the verge of a catastrophe in Lebanese airspace due to Israel's actions. 

    "There was a telephone conversation with the [Acting Prime Minister] Saad Hariri, during which he was informed about the details of what happened yesterday. Miraculously, it was possible to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in which passengers of two civilian aircraft in Lebanese airspace could suffer during the invasion of Israeli aircraft which launched a strike on the south of Damascus," Fenianos said.

    The minister also said that the Lebanese authorities intend to send a complaint to the UN Security Council in connection with the invasion of Israeli aircraft in the country's airspace to attack Syria that caused threat to passenger aircraft

    'Under Cover' of Civil Aircraft

    Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the Israeli airstrikes on Syria were again carried out "under the cover" of passenger planes landing in Damascus and Beirut.

    The ministry described the airstrikes as a flagrant violation of Syria's sovereignty and UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 1701 on the Israel-Lebanon conflict.

    Earlier, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that the Israeli Air Force last night carried out an unprecedented 1.5-hour long attack on Syria, with the majority of the Israeli missiles being intercepted by Syrian air defences.

    In December, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue Israeli operations in Syria to counter Iran's military presence in the country, following the US' decision to withdraw from the Arab Republic.

    READ MORE: Israeli Media Claims IDF Destroyed Iranian Weapons in Strike on Damascus

    "The decision to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Syria will not change our consistent policy. We will continue to act against Iran's attempts to gain a military foothold there and, if necessary, even expand our operations," Netanyahu said during a cabinet meeting.

    Iran has repeatedly stated that its forces maintain an exclusively advisory role in Syria, and denies any plans to establish a permanent military presence in the country.


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