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Israel must stop 'spontaneous' Syria strikes: Russia

A picture taken early on January 21, 2019, shows Syrian air defense batteries responding to Israeli missiles targeting Damascus. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has urged Israel to stop its "spontaneous" airstrikes on Syria, days after the Israeli military carried out fresh strikes against targets near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Israel has repeatedly attacked Syrian government positions under the pretext that it's attacking Iranian military advisers, who are in the country on a request from President Bashar al-Assad to assist the Syrian Army in their fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

"The practice of spontaneous strikes on the territory of a sovereign state, in this case Syria, must end," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday, according to Russia's TASS state news agency.

Zakharova (pictured below) said such moves by Tel Aviv only fueled tensions in the region and  harmed the long-term interests of all regional players, including Israel itself.

"We should prevent turning Syria, which has suffered over the past years of the armed conflict, into an arena of settling geopolitical scores," she added. "And we urge everyone to think about the possible consequences of causing more chaos in the Middle East.”

On Sunday, Syria's SANA state news agency cited an unnamed military official as saying that the country's aerial defenses had managed to “thwart” a daylight missile attack by Israeli warplanes against some localities in and around Damascus, including an airport.

Israel mounted another aerial aggression in the early hours of Monday, which SANA said included “land and air strikes … through successive waves of guided missiles.”

The Syrian air defense network was promptly activated and shot down “most” of the “hostile” projectiles before reaching their designated targets, the report said.

Syria wrote letters to the UN, warning that it could use its right to respond in self defense by striking Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport unless the UN Security Council steps in to stop the Tel Aviv regime's aggression.

Situation in Idlib 'deteriorating'

Zakharova also raised concerns about the increasing number of violations of an ongoing ceasefire in Syria's western province of Idlib, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey in September.

“The number of ceasefire violations is increasing. Since the Russian-Turkey memorandum was signed on September 17, more than one thousand such cases were registered with 65 people dead and more than 200 wounded. Thirty ceasefire violations were registered in the last four days,” she said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced in Sochi on September 17 that they had agreed to create a demilitarized buffer zone in Idlib, which would be protected by Turkish and Russian soldiers.

Under the agreement, Russia was tasked with taking the necessary measures to rule out the need for an attack on Idlib by the Syrian government while Turkey pledged to remove anti-government militant groups from the demilitarized zone that was going to be established.

The territory is now almost under full control of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, Zakharova warned.

“Continuing provocations pose a threat to civilians, Syrian military personnel and the Russian Khmeymim air base,” she also said, referring to Russia's military base in the neighboring Latakia province.

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