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Russia summons Israeli ambassador over Syria attacks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin receives a letter of credence from Israeli ambassador to Russia Gary Koren during a ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 16, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

The Russian Foreign Ministry says it has summoned the Israeli ambassador to Moscow over an airstrike last week inside the Syrian territory.

Israeli envoy Gary Koren "was asked” about Friday’s incident during which Israeli warplanes intruded Syrian airspace, striking several targets near Palmyra, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Monday. 

The Syrian government said it had fired anti-aircraft missiles at the intruding Israeli jets and that one warplane had been shot down and another damaged.

Bogdanov said Moscow "expressed concern" over the airstrike. Koren was reportedly summoned last Friday, Russia’s news agency Interfax quoted a ministry official as saying on Monday.

The Syrian army condemned Tel Aviv’s strikes as “an act of aggression” meant to assist the Takfiri Daesh terror group.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the incursion on Saturday, claiming that the strikes targeted weapons shipments to Hezbollah. The resistance movement has been aiding the Syrian government in its own battle against extremist militants inside Syria.

Syria has been hit by deadly militancy it blames on some Western countries and their regional allies since March 2011.

Russia has been conducting an aerial campaign against Daesh and other terror outfits in the Middle Eastern country at the Damascus government’s request since September 2015.

The Israeli airstrike came in the midst of efforts to prevent a fragile ceasefire in Syria from breaking down and Syrian army advances against the positions of terrorist groups which are exempted from peace talks. 

On Monday, the Russia deputy foreign minister said representatives of the Syrian government will attend the upcoming peace talks in Geneva.

He also expressed Russia’s hope that Syrian armed opposition would be able to take part in the peace negotiations aimed at finding a political solution to the conflict.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura gives a press conference during the intra-Syrian peace talks at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, March 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Russian diplomat noted that the United Nations’ Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura would pay a visit to Moscow ahead of the talks scheduled to take place later this month.

A procedural round of the UN-mediated discussions was held between February 23 and March 3 in Geneva, and a new round has been scheduled for March 23.

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