Russia on Tuesday condemned increased Israeli air strikes on Syria as “unacceptable,” saying they risked triggering a spillover of the Israel-Hamas war into a wider regional conflict.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a call with his Syrian counterpart Tuesday, in which he stressed Russia’s opposition to Israel’s strikes on Syria, and warned against any actions that could provoke an escalation in the “current explosive situation,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.
Israel’s army said it carried out a string of air strikes on military targets inside Syria in recent weeks.
Concerns of a wider regional conflict are high after Hamas militants stormed over the Gaza border into southern Israel on October 7, killing some 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and seizing 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.
Since then, Israel has responded with an unrelenting bombardment of Gaza, which the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed more than 8,500 people, nearly half of them children.
Lavrov said “the spread of the armed escalation to Syria and other countries of the region is impermissible,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a readout of his call with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.
“In that regard, he (Lavrov) noted the unacceptability of Israeli air strikes on Syrian territory, which have become more frequent against the backdrop of events in the Gaza Strip,” Moscow said.
Russia has for years tried to establish itself as a key power broker in the Middle East, maintaining relations with as many states as possible, alongside the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah.
Moscow is Syria’s key military and political backer.