by WorldTribune Staff, March 20, 2017
Russia said it summoned Israel’s ambassador over Israeli airstrikes that hit close to Russian forces near the Syrian city of Palmyra.
Deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Interfax news agency that Ambassador Gary Koren was summoned on March 17 and “asked about” the strikes.
Russia said earlier this month that more than 180 of its troops have started operations to remove mines and IEDs planted by Islamic State (ISIS) around Palmyra’s ancient monuments.
The ministry “expressed concern” about the Israeli airstrikes taking place near Russian military locations, Bogdanov said.
Russia and Israel have set up a “hotline” aimed at avoiding air clashes over Syria and Bogdanov said Moscow “would like this channel to work more effectively” to ensure no “misunderstanding on who is doing what.”
Russia has deployed its own high-tech missile defense systems to Syria to protect its forces there.
Israeli warplanes struck what the Jewish state said was a convoy of weapons bound for Hizbullah. Syria responded by launching missiles at the Israeli jets, which had returned to Israeli airspace. Israel’s Arrow-3 missile defense system intercepted one of the Syrian missiles.
On March 19, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would not hesitate to destroy the air defense systems of Lebanon or Syria if either provoked Israel, but emphasized that Israel is not interested in conflict, Artuz Sheva reported.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said that “Hizbullah is violating UN resolutions and is preparing for war.”