17:36 GMT +310 December 2019
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    Light in the sky, is seen in the city in Damascus, Syria in this handout released by SANA on November 20, 2019

    Moscow Condemns Israel's Violation of Syrian Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity in Wake of Attacks

    © REUTERS / SANA
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    On Wednesday morning, the Israeli Air Force reported carrying out multiple attacks inside Syrian territory, attacking dozens of military targets allegedly containing 'Iranian' and Syrian forces.

    Israel's attacks against Syria are a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and only serve to escalate tensions in the region, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

    "Recently, the intensity of Israeli rocket and bomb attacks on Syrian territory have increased sharply...This development evokes the most serious concern and opposition in Moscow. We consider it critically important to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and other states in the region," the foreign ministry said.

    "In the meantime, Israel's actions only add to tensions and strength the potential for conflict around Syria, and run counter to efforts to normalise the situation, achieve stability in Syria, and see a political settlement reached in this country," the ministry added.

    Air Attacks

    On Wednesday morning, Syrian media reported that the country's air defences had detected and destroyed multiple hostile missiles approaching Damascus starting at around 1:30 am local time. Approximately 20 blasts were reported to have taken place in quick succession. Later, social media footage showed the operation of local air defences against attacking missiles, as well as fires burning on the ground, presumably of targets struck by projectiles which had made it through.

    According to the Syrian Arab News Agency, two civilians were killed and several others injured after the shrapnel of one of the missiles hit a residential home. Debris was also said to have hit a second residential building in the Qudsayya suburb west of Damascus, injuring a minor. A military source told the agency that Israeli warplanes had launched their attacks from both the disputed Golan Heights territory, as well as from Lebanese airspace.

    Later, the Israeli military, which rarely admits to carrying out attacks on Syrian territory, released a statement confirming the attack had taken place and saying that the air force had targeted dozens of military targets inside Syria, including alleged "Iranian forces." The IDF claimed that the targets included air-to-air missiles, warehouses, and other facilities. The military added that the attacks followed earlier rocket launches supposedly carried out by Syrian forces from Syrian territory targeting Israeli territory.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the attacks later Wednesday, tweeting that the late night strikes had targeted "Iranian Quds force and Syrian military targets" and were a response to "last night's rocket launches" against Israel. "I made it clear that whoever is hurting us - will be hurt," the prime minister said.

    In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks in Syria, and dozens more in Lebanon, Gaza, and Iraq against what it has said was an alleged Iranian presence. The Syrian government invited Iranian advisors and Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah into the country during the foreign-backed civil conflict in the country to assist in Damascus's fight against terrorism. Tel Aviv has argued that these forces could be used in an Iranian proxy war against Israel.

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