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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Continued Israeli Airstrikes on Syria are 'Categorically Unacceptable', Moscow Warns

Sputnik News

Ilya Tsukanov

Israeli fighter jets attacked a village near the Mediterranean Sea port city of Tartus on Saturday morning, injuring two civilians and damaging local farms. Israeli media later claimed that the attack targeted "Iranian" assets in the area seeking to bring "game-changing" air defense systems to Syria.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has issued a strongly-worded statement blasting Israel's recent aerial attack on Syria, demanding that Tel Aviv immediately halt its campaign of aerial aggression.

"On July 2, Israeli warplanes fired several missiles at targets in the Syrian Arab Republic's Tartus province. According to reports, two civilians were injured as a result of the air raid. Serious damage was caused to civilian infrastructure. We once again emphasize that the ongoing Israeli strikes on Syrian territory are categorically unacceptable," Zakharova said in a statement.

"We strongly condemn such irresponsible actions that violate Syria's sovereignty and the basic norms of international law, and demand their unconditional cessation," the spokeswoman added.

Syrian media indicated that the strikes, which took place at around 6:30 in the morning on Saturday, were launched from the Mediterranean Sea west of the Lebanese city of Tripoli, and struck poultry farms in the vicinity of the town of Hamidiya south of Tartus.

The attack was said to have caused extensive property damage, including local irrigation and electricity networks. One local man from the village of Al-Jamasa said he lost 52 sheep and two cows and various agricultural implements which constituted his only source of livelihood. Another man, a resident of the village of al-Qubaiba, suffered a broken leg, and said the attack damaged his home and affected over three kilometers of agricultural land.

Saturday's attack followed last month's Israeli strike on the Damascus International Airport, which caused serious damage to the airfield and terminal buildings, and forced the Ministry of Transport to temporarily suspend all flights into and out of the capital. Both Russia and Iran condemned that attack, which was the second Israeli strike on the airport since May.

On Sunday, an unsourced report by Israel's Channel 12 claimed that the Tartus strike targeted an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps attempt to bring "game-changing" air defense systems to Syria.

Israel rarely comments on individual airstrikes against its neighbor, but has acknowledged conducting "hundreds" of attacks against Syria over the past decade, with officials and media sometimes justifying the aggression by pointing to the presence of "Iranian" or "Iranian-backed" (i.e. Lebanese Hezbollah) forces in the country.

Damascus has dismissed Tel Aviv's justifications, saying it has the right to station whatever troops it wants to on its own territory, particularly to assist it in its decade-long battle against foreign-backed jihadist extremists.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has coordinated "some" of its Syria airstrikes with United States Central Command, the unified entity responsible for all US military operations in the Middle East. The US occupies about one third of Syria's oil and food-rich northeastern territories together with its Syrian Kurdish allies, forcing the otherwise energy and grain self-sufficient nation to rely on Russia and Iran for food and fuel assistance.

© Sputnik

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