Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin REUTERS

Russia strongly condemned a retaliatory strike by Israeli forces against Syria Wednesday, after a missile was fired from Syrian territory into Israel overnight.

Alexander Yefimov, Russia’s ambassador to Syria, told Novosti Wednesday afternoon that his country views the Israeli retaliatory strike as being “illegal”.

“Russia strongly condemns the Israeli raids on Syria, and calls for an end to them,” Yefimov said. “We inform West Jerusalem of this position constantly and at various levels.”

Israeli strikes on Syria, he added, are “absolutely illegal in terms of international law,” and “leave human casualties, cause tangible material damage, violate Syria’s sovereignty, pose a threat to international civil aviation, and in general increase tension in the already escalating military-political situation.”

Yefimov’s comments mark a shift in Russian policy vis-à-vis Israel’s long-running conflict with Syria and pro-Iranian forces in Syria, with Moscow largely declining to comment on Israeli air strikes.

Overnight, an anti-aircraft missile fired from Syria exploded mid-air over the Wadi Ara region of northern Israel, near northern Samaria.

Later Wednesday, missile fragments were found in the Jenin area of northern Samaria.

In response to the missile, the IDF attacked targets in Syria, among them a Syrian radar, and anti-aircraft batteries that fired missiles at Israel Air Force aircraft.

"The IDF will continue to protect the skies of the State of Israel," the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

Syrian television reported that a soldier was killed and five were wounded in the Israeli attack. It was further reported that property was damaged as a result of the strike.

Last week, Syrian media reported that Israel had carried out an air strike in the Damascus area.