Russia's Lavrov condemns Israeli missile strikes on Syria

Israel hit Iranian targets in a series of strikes near Assad's ancestral home region and also close to Russia's main Syrian bases on the coast.

Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad attend a news conference in Moscow, Russia August 23, 2022. (photo credit: Natalia Kolesnikova/Pool via REUTERS)
Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad attend a news conference in Moscow, Russia August 23, 2022.
(photo credit: Natalia Kolesnikova/Pool via REUTERS)

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday condemned Israeli missile attacks against Syria, in comments that underline a chill in once-warm Russian-Israel relations.

Lavrov was speaking at a joint news conference alongside his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad. Russia is a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.

"We strongly condemned the dangerous practice of Israeli strikes on Syrian territory," Lavrov said.

"We demand that Israel respect the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and, above all, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria."

Israel hit Iranian targets in a series of strikes on Aug. 14 near Assad's ancestral home region and also close to Russia's main Syrian bases on the Mediterranean coast, regional intelligence and Syrian military sources said. 

 A Russian soldier looks out of a helicopter during a patrol over Kobani, Syria July 19, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/Orhan Qereman) A Russian soldier looks out of a helicopter during a patrol over Kobani, Syria July 19, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/Orhan Qereman)

Speaking at the same news conference in Moscow, Mekdad gave Lavrov his backing to Russia's actions in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation" to disarm and "denazify" its smaller southern neighbour.

Israel has spoken out against Moscow sending troops into Ukraine and bilateral tensions have grown in recent months.

In May, Lavrov said Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish roots - a statement that triggered outrage in Israel and forced a rare apology from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian authorities have also opened legal investigations into the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency, Sochnut, which promotes emigration to Israel.

Turkey - Syria

 Lavrov added that an escalation of military action in Syria would be "unacceptable," in comments aimed at persuading Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan to row back talk of a new campaign in northern Syria.

Lavrov said Russia and Syria were looking to negotiate with Turkey to "prevent any new military action."