Russian Federation says Israeli air strikes on Syria threatened two civilian flights
- Author: Rogelio Becker Dec 27, 2018,
Dec 27, 2018, 0:34
"An IDF aerial defense system activated in response to an anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria", the Israeli military said on Twitter.
The reported attack near Damascus is the first since US President Donald Trump announced last week that the US would withdraw all of its 2,000 forces in Syria, a move that would leave control of the oil-rich eastern third of Syria up for grabs.
The Israeli military put two civilian airliners in immediate danger, Igor Konashenkov, the Defense Ministry spokesman, told reporters.
Addressing a graduation ceremony for new pilots at an Israeli air force base on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no direct reference to specific attacks or Moscow's criticism. The missiles are believed to have been fired by Israeli warplanes that had also violated the Lebanese airspace.
Only two reached their target - a "logistics compound" close to Damascus, where three Syrian soldiers were wounded - while the rest were intercepted, the ministry said.
The Jerusalem Post, using commercial airline tracking information, reported that two Iranian cargo planes left Damascus around 10 PM, right before or during the air attack took place. Syrian state media reported that its air defenses repelled a missile attack.
The company had been accused of smuggling Iranian arms to Hezbollah in the past, but it was unclear whether the plane was carrying several Hezbollah officials who had allegedly boarded a plane at the same airport that evening bound for Tehran.
Syrian media said that most of the incoming missiles were intercepted by its defences, which were filmed firing overnight.
Israel had previously said it will not tolerate Iran seeking to establish permanent military bases in Syria as the war there winds down after seven years of fighting.
Minister Gebran Bassil also issued instructions to Lebanon's envoy to the United Nations to lodge a complaint against Israel at the Security Council, the statement said.
Mahan Air has been targeted by USA sanctions for delivering arms to Syria, which at least partly reach the Lebanese Hezbollah, designated as a terror group by the U.S.