Russia's Foreign Ministry has expressed its concerns over rising tensions between Israel and Syria. The Israeli military boasted on Saturday that it struck 12 targets, including three Aerial Defense Systems or ADS and four Iranian targets, in Syria.
The attacks occurred shortly after, Syrian air defenses downed an Israeli F-16 fighter jet in response to Israel's act of "aggression." The Israeli army has confirmed the reports, which were first reported by Syrian state media.
Sergey Lavrov, Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, said in the statement on Saturday: "We urge all parties involved to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation. We consider it necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries of the region. It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian servicemen who are in Syria at the invitation of its legitimate government to assist in the fight against terrorists,"
According to Israel, its attacks were in response to an alleged infiltration of its airspace by an Iranian drone, a claim rejected by the Syrian government and allies who argue the drone was on a regular mission gathering intelligence on Islamic State militants.
The Israeli army has carried out dozens of strikes inside Syria since the beginning of the war in 2011. Tel Aviv says it is targeting growing Iranian and Hezbollah presence in Syria which it sees as a national security threat. Israel has also occupied the Syrian Golan Heights since 1967.
Syrian sovereignty has also come under attack by Turkey in recent times. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan launched a military campaign against the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the People's Protection Units (YPG) on Jan. 19. The YPG led effective military offensives against Islamic State militants in the northern region of Syria. However, Istambul considers the YPG, a mostly Kurdish militia, a branch of the outlawed insurgent Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).