Russia summons Israeli ambassador to explain air raids in Syria

Moscow raises concerns over Israel’s exchange of fire with Syrian regime forces as second incident kills pro-Assad fighter

An Israeli F-16I fighter jet. Last week’s Israeli air strike hit close to Russian troops. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA

Russia summoned the Israeli ambassador to demand an explanation for Israel’s air raids in Syria last week, Moscow has confirmed, as an Israeli drone was blamed for the targeted killing of a senior pro-Assad fighter in a second reported incident.

The summons, made on Friday, was confirmed by Russia’s foreign ministry which said the Israeli ambassador to Moscow, Gary Koren, had been asked to explain an exchange of fire with Syrian government forces in which anti-aircraft missiles were fired at Israeli jets.

According to Israel’s Channel 2, the Israeli strike hit close to Russian troops.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, said Russia had “expressed concern”. The diplomatic intervention marks the first apparent fracture in the secretive deconfliction arrangement between the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, over where, when and who Israeli jets can strike in Syria.

Israel had interpreted the arrangement as giving it a relatively free hand to attack warehouses and shipments of advanced weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed and pro-Bashar al-Assad Lebanese militant group. But Friday’s raid, reportedly by four Israeli jets which penetrated Syrian airspace, appears to have changed that dynamic after the interception of an SA-5 missile that flew into Israel forced it for the first time in the six-year Syrian civil war to acknowledge an attack.

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Source By https://www.theguardian.com

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