- Sputnik International
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

Russia Sees Threat of Iran-Israel Strife Escalating in Syria – Foreign Ministry

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitA mock road sign for Damascus, the capital of Syria, and a cutout of a soldier, are displayed in an old outpost in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights near the border with Syria, Thursday, May 10, 2018
A mock road sign for Damascus, the capital of Syria, and a cutout of a soldier, are displayed in an old outpost in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights near the border with Syria, Thursday, May 10, 2018 - Sputnik International
TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Russia is concerned that the mutual exchange of fire between Israel and Iran on the Syrian territory as well as Israel's "initiative" air strikes on the crisis-torn country may result in a large-scale regional conflict, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the Israeli Kan 11 broadcaster in an interview.

"We see … a threat that at some point, these events, this exchange of attacks and especially initiative attacks by Israeli aviation on some facilities located in Syria, may get out of control and lead to a very serious deterioration of the situation in the region in general. I think that this, of course, is not in the interests of either Russia or Israel," Bogdanov stated.

READ MORE: Israeli Analyst Explains Why Iran Unlikely to Withdraw From Syria

This Saturday, April. 29, 2017 still taken from video, shows an American soldier standing on an armored vehicle in the northern village of Darbasiyah, Syria - Sputnik International
US Sends Signal to Moscow by Halting Aid to Rebels in Syria – Israeli Analyst
Russia is engaged in discussions with Israel on this issue on the level of various government agencies and always considers all concerns that the Israeli leadership has, the deputy foreign minister noted.

At the same time, Bogdanov stressed that Iran’s presence in Syria was limited to military advisers and servicemen assisting Syrians in the fight against terrorism.

"As far as we understand, the Iranian troops are not present on the Syrian territory. There are Iranian servicemen, advisers. I think that their number, although I do not know for sure, is quite limited," he told the broadcaster, commenting on the Israeli claims about Iranian military involvement in the Syrian conflict and Tehran's alleged attempts to turn Syria into an anti-Israel state.

On May 10, the Israeli Air Force hit dozens of Iranian targets in Syria after Iranian forces allegedly fired 20 rockets at the Israel Defense Forces' positions in Golan Heights, — the area under Israeli administration.

READ MORE: Israeli Ex-Energy Minister Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for Iran — Police

Israeli relations with Iran are strained over Tehran's hostile rhetoric and support for Syria in its fight against terrorist groups. Israeli officials have repeatedly said that Israel would not allow Iran to turn Syria, which has been engulfed in a civil war since 2011, into its military foothold.

Russian Troops in Syria

Bogdanov also addressed the issue of the Russian military presence on the Syrian territory.

"When the war against terror will come to an end and there will be no need to assist Syrians in the fight against terrorism, we will look at the decision of the sovereign state and its government: whether we are needed there or our mission is over," the official told Kan 11.He noted that the southwestern de-escalation zone near Syrian border with Jordan was filled with thousands of militants, stressing that a decisive action was needed to clean the area from terrorists.

An Israeli soldier stands on top of a Merkava tank near the border with Syria in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, on November 28, 2016 - Sputnik International
Israeli Army on High Alert in Golan Heights as Syria Intensifies Op in Daraa
Moscow launched a military operation against terrorist groups in Syria in September 2015 at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. On December 11, Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of a significant portion of Russian troops from the country, a week after his announcement that the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, outlawed in Russia) was defeated in Syria.

READ MORE: Putin-Trump May Agree on US Pullout From Syria, Al-Tanf Handover — Analyst

However, Russian servicemen have remained at Russia's naval facility in the city of Tartus and Hmeimim air base in order to continue helping maintain security in the country.

Russia along with Turkey and Iran are guarantors of the ceasefire regime in Syria. Moscow has also been providing humanitarian aid to residents of the crisis-torn country.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала