Russia says concerned with reports of Israeli attack in Syria

MOSCOW Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:14am EST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it was very concerned about reports of an Israeli air attack deep inside Syria near Damascus and that any such action, if confirmed, would amount to unacceptable military interference in the war-ravaged country.

"If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the U.N. Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Sources told Reuters on Wednesday that Israeli warplanes had bombed a convoy near Syria's border with Lebanon, apparently targeting weapons destined for Hezbollah in what some called a warning to Damascus not to arm Israel's Lebanese enemy.

Syrian state television accused Israel of bombing a military research centre at Jamraya, between Damascus and the nearby border. Syrian rebels disputed that, saying their forces had attacked the site.

Russia has been trying to shield Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from international pressure to end the civil war against opposition forces that has ravaged the country over 22 months and killed an estimated 60,000 people. Moscow has repeatedly spoken against any foreign interference in Syria, especially military action.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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