Israel Launches Fresh Attack on Syria; Subdued Response from Russia

The Syrian government claims that explosions which rocked an area near Damascus Airport in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, April 27, were the result of a new Israeli attack upon the country. The attack has been “all but confirmed” by Israel’s intelligence minister.

“I can confirm that the incident in Syria completely conforms to Israel’s policy to act so as to prevent the smuggling of advanced weapons from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon by Iran,” said Yisrael Katz.

Apparently all Israel has to do is claim to be bombing a “weapons shipment” to Hezbollah and it gets away with one attack after another upon Syria. This has been the pattern.

Also in keeping with the pattern, the response from Russia has been, shall we say, “subdued” at best. You can go here to access an RT report on the attack that makes no mention of any official response whatsoever. The official website of the Russian Foreign Ministry also has not (at least as of yet) posted anything on the matter–even though the attack occurred more than 12 hours ago.

The only thing I could find indicating any response at all from any Russian official are a couple of reports, the first one by  SANA, the Syrian government’s website:

Moscow: Israeli Aggression on Military Site Southwest of Damascus Airport Violates International Law

SANA

Moscow, SANA- Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova affirmed on Thursday that the Israeli aggression on a military site southwest of Damascus Airport violates international law and is in the interests of terrorists.

In a press conference in Moscow, Zakharova said that Moscow condemns acts of aggression against Syria and regards them as impermissible and running counter to international law which cannot be justified because this violation is destabilizing and is in the interest of the terrorists, like Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS, and obstructing the reaching of a settlement of the crisis in Syria on the basis of international resolutions, particularly resolution no.2254.

“We are urging all to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, a UN member-state,” she said.

Zakharova expressed her country’s deep concern about the bombing of Turkey to border areas in northeastern Syria and northern Iraq, stressing that the US aggression on al-Shairat airfield in the countryside of Homs had encouraged Ankara to commit this aggression.

She hoped that Astana meeting next week will achieve positive results and prevent the deterioration of the situation in Syria, adding that Syrian parties should be supported in reaching compromises that put an end to the ongoing confrontation in Syria and that Russia will not allow the terrorists to impose their control over the country and the entire Middle East region.

In a related context, Zakharova said that there are many facts and information to prove that the so-called White Helmets are working for the terrorists and fabricating films and false scenarios about the tragedy of people to discredit the Syrian forces and the Russian military.
“The White Helmets not only feel at home on territories controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra and the ISIS but also openly express positive attitude towards them, provide information and even financial assistance to them,” she said.

“There is documentary evidence proving that White Helmets members participated in some operations carried out by Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as covered up the signs of civilian executions,” she added.

She noted that the Swedish NGO Doctors for Human Rights had accused the White Helmets of falsifying information about their humanitarian work in Syria by producing staged videos. “They analyzed a video and came to the conclusion that the people in the video were dealing with kids who were under the influence of drugs, rather than trying to provide them with medical assistance,” Zakharova stressed.

She added that Moscow is doing all it can to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrians without discrimination, including the besieged areas of Deir Ezzor, calling on the West to deal with the humanitarian issue in the same manner and stop the attempts to impose additional sanctions on Syrians.

And there is also this brief report regarding a statement from Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov:

‘Respect Syria’s Sovereignty’–Russia to Israel

Fort Russ News

“We urge the State of Israel to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and refrain from taking any steps that could lead to more escalation in the already troubled region”, Peskov was heard saying.

He also denied reports on preparations for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump that was supposed to take place this month.

On Thursday night, Israel fired missiles into Syria and which allegedly targeted Hezbollah positions in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport. This was the second Israeli incursion into Syrian territory in the past 5 days.

Additionally, Sputnik has posted an article that does not quote any Russian official, but which does include comments from a Russian geopolitical analyst  saying that the strike could be “a deliberate provocation.”

Why Strike Near Damascus Airport Could Have Been ‘A Deliberate Provocation’

Sputnik

Israel’s recent alleged strike on a site near Damascus International Airport could have been aimed at testing the waters of the political situation in the region, Russian geopolitical analyst Konstantin Sokolov told Radio Sputnik, adding that it is part of the same trend as an earlier US missile strike on Shayrat airfield in Syria.

An alleged Israeli strike against a site near Damascus International Airport in Syria could have been aimed at testing the waters with the international community, Konstantin Sokolov, Deputy Director of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems told Radio Sputnik.

On Thursday, a large explosion occurred close to the Damascus airport, with initial reports claiming that it was an Israeli attack on a supposed Hezbollah supply hub.

Commenting on the strike, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told Army Radio that “the incident in Syria fully fits in with Israel’s policies… of countering Iranian attempts to supply modern weapons to Hezbollah through Syria.”

Katz also cited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to continue Israeli efforts to prevent the alleged delivery of weapons from Iran to Hezbollah, which is fighting on the side of the Syrian government forces. The group, which was founded in the mid-1980s, is viewed by Tel Aviv as a terrorist organization.

Interestingly enough, Katz shied away from claiming responsibility for the strike. For its part, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) press office refrained from commenting on the matter.

Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Sokolov noted that still there is little information available on the attack. However, according to the geopolitical analyst, the recent strike falls within the same trend as the previous US missile strike at the Shayrat airfield in Syria.

“This incident should be considered together with the [US] missile strike authorized earlier [by US President Donald] Trump. These actions are aimed at the internationalization of the Syrian conflict,” Sokolov emphasized.

“If the strike was really conducted by the Israeli Air Force this is a direct violation of international law,” the analyst stressed, assuming that the attack wasn’t aimed at turning the tide in someone’s favor.

The analyst believes that one shouldn’t exclude that the real objective of those who sanctioned the attack was to put out feelers to see how the countries involved in the fight against terrorism in the region will react to this strike.

“First of all, this is a show of force aimed at examining the situation in the world: how other countries would react and what actions they will take [in response to such a strike]. If it is confirmed, it will mean that it was a deliberate provocation,” Sokolov emphasized, calling attention to the fact that the strike didn’t happen somewhere in the Syrian desert.

Sokolov suggested that the Syrian government will continue to use diplomatic measures to avoid the escalation and internationalization of the conflict.

Meanwhile, speaking to Sputnik Arabia, a Syrian military source denied the existence of a Hezbollah weapons depot near Damascus International Airport.

According to the source, these reports are being spread by some Western and Arab media “to justify Israeli aggression.”

“The Israeli Air Force has repeatedly committed acts of military aggression in Syria, taking advantage of the presence of international troops on its territory. But these repeated violations will not go unanswered by the Syrian [Arab] Army,” the source told Sputnik.

The source also confirmed that during the attack, the Syrian Arab Army’s weaponry stockpile referred to as “Hezbollah’s warehouse” by some media outlets was not affected by the recent strike.

Hostilities between Israel and Syria have repeatedly escalated, with the Israeli Air Force aircraft hitting targets in Syria in response to cross-border fire incidents.

In March 2017, Damascus warned Tel Aviv that it will retaliate if Israel continues to conduct airstrikes on Syrian territory.

So that’s it: Israel, it seems, gets away with another attack on a sovereign nation. Meanwhile, the US has just ratcheded up tensions considerably with North Korea. After condemning the North Koreans for conducting missile tests, the US yesterday test fired an ICBM:

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