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International community responds to Israel-Iran confrontation in Syria

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Israel’s Prime Minister and Russia’s President spoke yesterday following the confrontation between Israel and Iran over the weekend.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel had the right and the duty to defend itself from attacks launched from Syrian territory. Both leaders agreed that security coordination between their countries over Syria would continue.

A report in Haaretz has suggested that it was Putin’s intervention that prevented a further escalation. According to the paper, Putin asked Netanyahu to avoid moves that could lead to “a new round of dangerous consequences for the region”.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement which called on all sides “to show restraint and avoid all acts that could lead to complicating the situation further. It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian soldiers that are in the Syrian Arab Republic on the invitation of the legal government to assist in the fight against terrorism”.

The US said it was deeply concerned by the escalating violence on Israel’s northern border but supported Israel’s right to defend itself. US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that “Iran’s calculated escalation of threat, and its ambition to project its power and dominance, places all the people of the region — from Yemen to Lebanon — at risk”.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for “an immediate and unconditional de-escalation of violence,” whilst Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, called on the Security Council “to condemn this dangerous act and to put an immediate end to Iranian provocations”.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said Syria “has the right to legitimate self-defence. To cover their crimes in the region, Israeli officials are resorting to lies against other countries”. Responding to the Israeli attacks, the Deputy Chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, warned that his country could “bring hell upon the Zionist regime … we cannot confirm this report on the drone because Israelis are liars … if Syrians confirm it, Iran will confirm it as well”.

The UK Foreign Office has yet to comment on the confrontation, though according to Channel 10 News, along with France and Germany, the UK has been warning Iran of the “consequences of Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and precision missile factories in Lebanon”.