Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov AFP/Emmanuel Dunand

Russia and China voiced concern Monday over the air strikes against Syrian targets, which are attributed to the Israeli Air Force.

"We are looking into and analysing all the circumstances surrounding the specially worrisome reports of the May 3 and May 5 Israeli air strikes,"  the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement quoted by AFP,

"A further escalation of the armed conflict severely raises the risk of creating centers of tension in Lebanon as well as in Syria, and also destabilizing the still relatively stable situation in the region of the Israeli-Lebanese border," the statement said.

The Russian foreign ministry also urged the West not to politicize the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria, which officials suggest has now been carried out by both sides.

"We insistently urge to stop politicizing this extremely serious question and whipping up an anti-Syrian atmosphere," the ministry statement said.

China on Monday also implicitly criticized Israel's air strikes in Syria, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrived in Shanghai for a visit.

"We are opposed to the use of force and believe that the sovereignty of any country should be respected," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing when asked about the raids.

She added that China urged all sides to "exercise restraint and refrain from actions that may escalate tensions".

Her comments came as Netanyahu arrived on a five-day trip to China, which will end in Beijing with meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. It is the first visit by an Israeli prime minister since 2007, and overlaps with a three-day trip by Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas to Beijing, where he met Xi and other officials on Monday.

Abbas is due to leave on Tuesday and the two Middle Eastern leaders are not expected to meet while in China, AFP said.