Russia today condemned Israel’s air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria last night, branding them a “wrong move” which violated international law.
The air strikes, which were launched by the Israeli Air Force on both the Syrian army and Iranian targets last night, killed 11 people including seven non-Syrians who are thought to be Iranians.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov labelled the strikes as a “wrong move” which is in “stark contrast” to international law, adding that Moscow reached out with support to its allies Syria and Iran.
Throughout the ongoing eight-year Syrian conflict, Russia has backed the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, being its primary ally along with Iran and providing significant military assistance and aerial support to the regime’s armed forces in their battle to recapture the country.
Iran has also played a huge role in keeping the Assad regime in power, with state-backed Shia militias and military advisors scattered throughout the country and particularly the Syrian-Iraqi border region. This has unsettled Israel and others in the region, prompting it to conduct a sharp increase in air strikes on Iranian-backed militias and military sites in recent years and months.
Israel’s recently-appointed Defence Minister Naftali Bennett commented on the situation warning that “The rules have changed: Whoever fires at Israel during the day will not sleep at night. That was the case last week and it is the case this week,” referring to Israel’s recent killing of Islamic Jihad leader Bahaa Abu Al-Ata and the aerial bombardment on Gaza that followed. Bennett added: “Our message to the leaders of Iran is simple: You are not immune anymore. Wherever you send your octopus tentacles, we will hack them off.”
The justification for the air strikes has been linked back to alleged plans revealed in 2017, in which Iran was reported to be establishing a land corridor extending across Iraq and Syria and towards Lebanon, through which arms, military hardware, militia fighters and personnel could be easily transported.
The attacks are seen to represent a new front for Israel against Iran and its influence, despite Israel having maintained an official policy of non-intervention in the Syrian civil war and often remained silent in the face of accusations that it conducted air strikes. In January, however, the then-Chief of Staff of the Israeli army Gadi Eisenkot admitted Israel had in fact struck Syria “thousands of times”.