Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed his concern about the escalation of conflict in the Middle East, specifically the increasing frequency of Israeli airstrikes, during a phone call with his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad. Lavrov emphasized that the spreading of conflict to other countries in the region is unacceptable. The call between Lavrov and Mekdad also touched upon the current situation in Gaza, bilateral issues, and the progress in ending the war in Syria.
In recent weeks, Israel has carried out airstrikes in Syria, targeting locations in Aleppo and Damascus. These airstrikes have been in response to a Hamas incursion from Gaza on October 7. Israel has claimed that the airstrikes were intended to disrupt weapons deliveries from Iran. However, Damascus has condemned these attacks as a violation of Syrian sovereignty.
The Russian government has condemned the Hamas attack but has also expressed its disapproval of Israel’s response, referring to it as an unacceptable form of collective punishment against innocent civilians in Gaza. Moscow has called for an immediate end to the bloodshed in Gaza and the resolution of humanitarian issues caused by the ongoing conflict.
Russian officials have repeatedly emphasized the need to prevent the Middle East from becoming a battleground for settling geopolitical scores. Lavrov and Mekdad underscored the danger posed by external forces attempting to escalate tensions in the already explosive situation in the region.
It is worth noting that while the armed attempt to bring about a regime change in Syria in 2011 failed, significant portions of the country, particularly the north and northeast, remain outside the control of the government in Damascus. This ongoing situation adds further complexity to the efforts being made to end the war in Syria.
The Israeli airstrikes in Syria have drawn international attention, with Russian officials expressing their concerns and calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged the occurrence of hundreds of strikes in Syria over the past decade. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) justify these attacks as pre-emptive self-defense operations against Iran, accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to Hezbollah militants. However, these airstrikes have been strongly condemned by Damascus as a violation of Syrian sovereignty.
To achieve lasting peace and stability in the region, Lavrov and Mekdad agreed on the urgent need to halt the bloodshed in Gaza and find comprehensive solutions to the humanitarian issues arising from the conflict. Russia has been a vocal advocate for a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, with the goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state that is recognized by the international community.
In conclusion, the increasing number of Israeli airstrikes in Syria and the ongoing conflict in Gaza have raised concerns among Russian officials. Lavrov and Mekdad discussed these issues during their phone call, emphasizing the need to prevent the spread of conflict to other countries in the Middle East. Russia has called for an end to the bloodshed in Gaza and the resolution of humanitarian problems caused by the fighting. The government has condemned both the Hamas attack and Israel’s response, referring to it as collective punishment against innocent civilians. Moscow continues to advocate for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.