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A message to Israel? Russia deploys more forces in Syria’s Golan Heights

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Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday it had deployed additional forces in the Syrian-controlled areas of the Golan Heights, where Israel had allegedly struck at an increasing rate over the last few months.

The forces, from Russia’s military police, were tasked with de-escalating tensions in the Syrian provinces of Quneitra and Daraa, as well as monitoring the longstanding ceasefire issued as part of the Syrian Civil War.

According to Russia, military posts belonging to the Syrian military are located below the Russian observation posts, set up to monitor “possible provocations.”

Russia condemned alleged Israeli strike in Syria

Russia’s decision to make their presence in the Golan Heights comes after Moscow condemned a strike, blamed on Israel, targeting the Iranian consulate in Syria.

Moscow called on the Jewish state to cease such “completely unacceptable” actions and has requested a meeting with the UN Security Council regarding the strike.

Israeli soldiers use a tank during a military drill in the Golan Heights, February 20, 2024 (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said such attacks violated all the foundations of international law.

Russia’s cynical use of the Golan Heights

Russia had also continuously used Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights as a sticking point in arguing for its invasion of Ukraine 

Last year, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the United States of being “hypocritical” in its recognition of the Golan Heights as part of sovereign Israel.

Lavrov, who compared the Golan Heights to Ukraine’s war-torn Donbas, hinted that the US does not take its own vow to “respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all UN member states” seriously.

Just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, its deputy ambassador to Geneva told the UN Security Council that “Russia doesn’t recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Golan Heights that are part of Syria.”

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