RUSSIAN Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov confirmed yesterday that his ministry had summoned the Israeli ambassador in Moscow to demand explanations for air strikes near the Syrian city of Palmyra last week.
Ambassador Gary Koren was called in on Friday after the strikes were reported.
The ministry said that Russia’s government had “expressed concern” over the exchange and the ambassador’s visit “was mostly to discuss the latest events in Syria and around it.”
Israeli war planes attacked several targets in Syria, reportedly directing their fire against advanced arms provided to Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.
Syria’s Russia-supplied air defence force fired anti-aircraft missiles at the planes as they were returning from the mission.
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman ramped up the situation on Sunday, threatening to destroy Syria’s air defences if government forces resisted marauding Israeli war planes again.
“Next time, if the Syrian aerial defence apparatus acts against our planes, we will destroy it. We won’t hesitate. Israel’s security is above everything else. There will be no compromise,” he told Israeli Public Radio.
Israel has a long record of violating Syria’s air space with impunity that stretches back to before 2011, when the current armed conflict began.
The most notorious incident occurred in 2007, when Israeli warplanes destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria’s Deir Ezzor governorate.
Hezbollah is fighting alongside President Bashar alAssad’s forces in the war launched by regional Western allies to overthrow him.
A senior Israeli air force official said yesterday that a joint US-Israeli missile interceptor known as David’s Sling will become operational soon, completing a multilayer defence system.