Lavrov Says Russia Warned Israel against Targeting Syria

Lavrov Says Russia Warned Israel against Targeting Syria – Asharq Al-Awsat

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has revealed one aspect of the Russian-Israeli understandings to coordinate flights in Syria, saying that Moscow has warned Tel Aviv several times that its aerial activity over Syria could have disastrous consequences.

The Russian-Israeli dispute renewed this week despite a large scale public relations campaign launched by Tel Aviv to improve ties with the Kremlin ahead of an anticipated meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the end of the week in Paris.

Lavrov’s remarks, which came in an interview he gave to a Spanish newspaper, indicated Moscow’s strict stance towards restoring coordination with Israel in Syria.

He said that Tel Aviv has violated all the understandings previously reached between the two sides.

“Unfortunately, the Israeli side hasn’t always strictly implemented its commitments, especially with regards to notifying the Russian military about combat operations in Syrian territory,” Lavrov said.

“On several occasions this put the lives of our military personnel in Syria in danger. For example, the Israeli air strikes on the region of Palmyra in March 2017,” he continued.

“We warned the Israelis through all means and at the highest level that such behavior could have tragic consequences … At the same time, we have emphasized that military operations contribute to rising regional tension and cannot solve the security problems that concern Israel,” said Lavrov.

“However, the Israelis continued to bomb targets in Syrian territory and that led to the crash of the Russian reconnaissance aircraft Il-20 with 15 officers on board.”

“After the September 17 incident, we could not leave things as they were. Russia responded in a moderate but firm manner,” he said.

The downing by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, after Israeli jets attacked a suspected Iranian arms shipment to Syria, has caused a diplomatic rift between Israel and Russia.

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