The Russian Foreign Ministry, in a delayed statement, condemned Israel for conducting aerial strikes in Syria, and warned that the consequences of Israel’s military operations in its northern neighbor would stoke an atmosphere of enmity in the region that does not correspond with the long-term national interests of any state across the Middle East. According to Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, “The practice of arbitrary strikes on the territory of a sovereign state, in this case, we are talking about Syria, should be ruled out. According to our estimation, stoking an atmosphere of enmity in the region does not correspond with the long-term national interests of any Middle Eastern state including, naturally, Israel.” The Russian statement came in spite of the fact that Jerusalem provided Moscow with advanced notice of its aerial-operation against the Iranian targets in Syria, by means of the established coordinated-mechanism – meant to provided deconfliction between the Russian military and the IDF, in Israel’s northern neighbor.
To Jerusalem’s dismay, however, it has been revealed that the Russians immediately informed the Iranians of the Israeli offensive-intentions, some thirty minutes before the attack. An Iranian source revealed to TV7 that the commander of the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, visited Tehran on Monday night, during which he informed a meeting of Tehran’s Supreme National Security Council on the Israeli attack and the scope of the damage that it caused to Iranian and Syrian positions near the south of Damascus. The source, who asked to remain anonymous, stressed that the Russian information prevented a massacre of Iranian forces, which would have forced the Islamic Republic to immediately respond – effectively delaying an inevitable all-out conflagration.