EU warns of spiraling violence after Israel-Syria border incident

"We urge the Syrian parties, their allies, as well as the regional actors to abide by international law, to show restraint, and avoid actions that further escalate the situation."

By REUTERS
February 12, 2018 16:19
1 minute read.
An old military vehicle can be seen positioned on the Israeli side of the border with Syria, near th

An old military vehicle can be seen positioned on the Israeli side of the border with Syria, near the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

 
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BRUSSELS - The European Union's executive on Monday said the warring Syrian parties and their regional allies should show restraint to avoid a further spiral of violence in the region.

In the most serious confrontations yet between Israel and Iranian-backed forces in Syria, an anti-aircraft fire downed an Israeli warplane returning on Saturday.

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"The military escalation throughout Syria, including the events we have seen on the Israeli border over the weekend, is deeply worrying. It could indeed lead to a dangerous spillover," a spokeswoman for the European Commission told a regular press briefing.

"We urge the Syrian parties, their allies, as well as the regional actors to abide by international law, to show restraint, and avoid actions that further escalate the situation and prolong the suffering of Syrian civilians," she said, adding the Commission was monitoring the situation closely.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson issued a response to Saturday's events, expressing concern at the developments, but supporting Israel's right to defend itself.

"We support Israel’s right to defend itself against any incursions into its territory.We are concerned at the Iranian actions, which detract from efforts to get a genuine peace process underway. We encourage Russia to use its influence to press the regime and its backers to avoid provocative actions and to support de-escalation in pursuit of a broader political settlement," said Johnson.

On Sunday US Secretary of Defense James Mattis also expressed support for Israel.

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"Israel has an absolute right to defend itself, and I think that's what happened yesterday," he told reporters in response to a question about Saturday's military crisis, warning also about a growing Iranian influence in the region.

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