Russia Sees Threat of Iran-Israel Strife Escalating in Syria – Foreign Ministry
Russia is concerned that the mutual exchange of fire between Israel and Iran on the Syrian territory as well as Israel’s “initiative” air strikes on the crisis-torn country may result in a large-scale regional conflict, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the Israeli Kan 11 broadcaster in an interview.
“We see … a threat that at some point, these events, this exchange of attacks and especially initiative attacks by Israeli aviation on some facilities located in Syria, may get out of control and lead to a very serious deterioration of the situation in the region in general. I think that this, of course, is not in the interests of either Russia or Israel,” Bogdanov stated.
Russia is engaged in discussions with Israel on this issue on the level of various government agencies and always considers all concerns that the Israeli leadership has, the deputy foreign minister noted.
At the same time, Bogdanov stressed that Iran’s presence in Syria was limited to military advisers and servicemen assisting Syrians in the fight against terrorism.
“As far as we understand, the Iranian troops are not present on the Syrian territory. There are Iranian servicemen, advisers. I think that their number, although I do not know for sure, is quite limited,” he told the broadcaster, commenting on the Israeli claims about Iranian military involvement in the Syrian conflict and Tehran’s alleged attempts to turn Syria into an anti-Israel state.
On May 10, the Israeli Air Force hit dozens of Iranian targets in Syria after Iranian forces allegedly fired 20 rockets at the Israel Defense Forces’ positions in Golan Heights, — the area under Israeli administration.
Israeli relations with Iran are strained over Tehran’s hostile rhetoric and support for Syria in its fight against terrorist groups. Israeli officials have repeatedly said that Israel would not allow Iran to turn Syria, which has been engulfed in a war since 2011, into its military foothold.