Russia summoned the Israeli ambassador to Moscow on Friday after Israeli warplanes violated Syria’s airspace and carried out a number of airstrikes on Syrian territory.
According to Israeli media, Gary Koren was summoned by the Russian Foreign Ministry to justify Israel’s air strikes in Syria.
The Foreign Ministry confirmed Koren’s meeting with the Russians, just one day after the ambassador presented his credentials to the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman publicly threatened to destroy Syrian air defence systems after they fired ground-to-air missiles at the Israeli jets carrying out the strikes.
Earlier on Friday, the Syrian army announced in a statement that Israeli fighter jets “penetrated” Syrian airspace via Lebanese territory and “hit a military target on the way to Palmyra” overnight. The statement added that the army’s air defense shot down one of the aircraft and hit another.
Israel has carried out air raids against Syrian-based targets on many occasions, but it rarely acknowledges the attacks. On Friday, however, the Israeli military acknowledged that its jets bombed several targets in Syria.
In a statement to justify the provocative operation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the Israeli military had targeted a convoy of the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, in Syria.
“When we identify attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah — when we have the intel and the operational capability — we act to prevent it. That’s how we’ve acted and how we will continue to act… and everyone needs to take this into account,” Netanyahu said on Friday.
The resistance movement, whose fighters have fended off several Daesh attacks inside Lebanon, accuses Israel of supporting Takfiri terrorists operating in the Middle East. Hezbollah has also been providing assistance to Syrian army forces in their fight against Daesh and other foreign-backed terrorist groups in Syria.
The Israeli raids were “a desperate attempt to raise their (Daesh terrorists’) deteriorating morale and divert attention from the victories which the Syrian Arab Army is making in the face of the terrorist organizations,” it said.