21:36 GMT02 December 2020
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    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - Damascus considers the argument that the presence of Hezbollah and the Iranian military in the country justifies Israeli airstrikes on Syria unacceptable and "weak," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told RT broadcaster in an interview.

    Overnight into Monday, Syrian media reported that explosions had been heard in Damascus and that the air defence forces had repelled an attack on the capital. The rockets had reportedly been launched from the "occupied territories." A source from Beirut International Airport said that Israeli warplanes were in Lebanon’s airspace during the attack. Israeli defence forces, which regularly conduct attacks on Syrian territory under the pretext of countering Iran's military presence there, declined to comment on the reports.

    "Iran is present in Syria, namely its military experts, as well as Hezbollah. Damascus opposes Israel's use of this argument as justification for its aggression," Muallem said.

    The Syrian minister compared Israel's arguments to those used by the United States to justify its fight against terrorists in Syria.

    "These are weak excuses," he said.

    Meanwhile, a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader said in an interview with RT Arabic that peoples of Syria and Lebanon would eventually make Israel pay for striking at Syria.

    "Our estimate is that the peoples of Syria and Lebanon will eventually stand up to Israel and give it a mighty slap in the face," Ali Akbar Velayati said.

    He threatened Israel and its main Western ally, the United States, that their crimes against Syria would not go unpunished and that both would regret them.

    "Israel has had its bitter experience of receiving a powerful blow for every airstrike on Lebanon. This is what will happen in Syria," he added.

    Hezbollah and Iran, one of Israel's main adversaries in the region, have been supporting the Syrian government in its fight against terrorism amid the ongoing crisis. Iran has repeatedly said that its presence in Syria is coordinated with Damascus and does not have to be approved by Israel.


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