Tensions inside Syria are continuing to escalate as Israel bombards the country with air strikes, causing the Russian ambassador to voice their views stating that Israeli strikes aim to “escalate tensions and allow the West to carry out military activities in Syria.” Alexander Efimov is the Russian Ambassador to Syria, and he has warned that Israeli strikes within the country are provoking Russia to react. Israel has condemned the Russia invasion of Ukraine, while the latest comments from Russia are the strongest condemnation of Israel’s battle within Syria to date.
During a conference on Thursday Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid explained that Israel had to balance its security interest in Syria, which is coordinates with Russia and its moral obligation to Ukraine. Lapid has stated that Israel had “condemned the invasion, sent a field hospital to Ukraine, but we must prevent the possibility that one Israeli pilot will be shot down in Syria and taken prisoner”, and that they had to “think what this will do to Israeli society. What will this do to our national security?”
The Russian embassy in Israel stated that it considered the military coordination with Israel in Syria continuing, saying that – “Our military officials discuss the practical issues of this substantively on a daily basis. This mechanism has proven to be useful and will continue to work.”
Back in January Russian and Syrian military jets jointly patrolled the airspace along Syria’s borders, including near the Golan Heights region. Following this in February Russia states to the UN Security Council that it does not recognise the Golan Heights as part of Israel’s sovereignty. The region is highly contested by both Syria and Israel as it has an abundance of water, natural resources and extremely fertile soil which either side would find economically beneficial.
The last reported Israeli airtime in Syria was reported on March 7th which struck targets near Damascus airport and the Al-Assad suburb killing two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers. In response the IRGC warned that the “Zionist regime will undoubtedly pay the price for such a crime.”