Following the Friday pre-dawn raid, ostensibly against Iranian weapons shipments and assets according to Israeli reports, Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday evening slammed the—
“vicious practice” of Israeli strikes on civilian infrastructure, which it said were “provocative” and “in violation of the basic norms of international law.”
Syria had been forced to halt all flights from its largest commercial international airport following the fresh Israeli airstrikes, as we detailed earlier, with the country’s main international transit hub likely to be halted into next week pending urgent repairs.
The statement from Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, “We are compelled to reiterate that the ongoing Israeli shelling of the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, in violation of the basic norms of international law, is absolutely unacceptable.”
It continued: “We strongly condemn Israel’s provocative attack on the most important object of the Syrian civilian infrastructure.”
“Such irresponsible actions create serious risks for international air traffic and put the lives of innocent people in real danger.” it said.
According to The Times of Israel, the damage to the runways is extensive: “An Israeli satellite intelligence firm published images showing significant damage to the runways, which it said disabled the entire airport.”
This week, and following a prior Israeli strike on Syria, Russian jets joined Syria’s air force in a rare joint patrol and exercise:
The ministry said two Russian SU-35 fighter jets and six Syrian MiG-23 and MiG-29 aircraft simulated facing “hostile” warplanes and drones. Syrian pilots dealt with them with cover and support from the Russian warplanes, it said.
“All illusive targets were monitored and completely destroyed while aerial targets were hit at night for the first time,” the Syrian Defense Ministry said in a statement. It also released a video of the warplanes that it said took part in the drill.
While Russia has in the past years of war provided Damascus with S-300 missile systems, it has typically not engaged Israel – but has in the last month stepped up warnings against Israeli overreaching in its purported ‘anti-Iranian’ operations over Syria.