Russia condemns ‘provocative’ Israeli attack on Damascus airport

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Syria’s ally Russia on Monday condemned Israeli air strikes on Damascus international airport, describing them as provocative and dangerous.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Sunday’s strikes could aggravate tensions in the region, already inflamed by the Gaza war.

“We strongly condemn Israel’s latest provocative attack on an important Syrian civilian infrastructure facility,” Zakharova said in a statement.

“We are convinced that such a vicious practice is fraught with extremely dangerous consequences, especially in the context of a sharp aggravation of the situation in the zone of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the resulting increase in regional tension.”

Russia intervened in Syria’s civil war in 2015 on the side of President Bashar al-Assad, and also has ties to Israel’s other enemies in the region including Iran and Hamas. Relations between Russia and Israel have deteriorated since the start of the Gaza war as Moscow has repeatedly highlighted the suffering of Palestinian civilians under siege by Israel, as well as hosting a delegation of senior Hamas officials.

The Syrian army and a pro-government newspaper said Sunday’s Israeli air strikes put Damascus airport out of service and forced incoming flights to be diverted elsewhere.

(Reporting by Reuters, writing by Mark Trevelyan, Editing by William Maclean)