BEIRUT (AP) – The Latest on the developments in Syria (all times local):
A top Russian diplomat says the Israeli ambassador in Moscow has been “invited” to the Foreign Ministry to discuss developments in Syria following an airstrike that both Moscow and Damascus have blamed on Israel.
The Russian military said the Israeli Air Force launched Monday’s airstrike on a military air base in central Syria that reportedly killed at least 14 people, including Iranians active in Syria.
Israel did not comment on the airstrike.
Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian presidential envoy for the Middle East and Africa, told Russian news agencies on Tuesday that the Israeli ambassador to Moscow was asked to come to the Foreign Ministry “to talk” later in the day.
Asked if it was about the airstrike, Bogdanov only said Russian diplomats want to talk about various issues related to the Syrian war, as well as bilateral relations.
Syrian war monitors say government forces and their allies are on alert and taking precautionary measures at military bases and posts across the country amid fears of a military attack by the United States.
The measures come as President Donald Trump is threatening an imminent military strike against Syria, vowing to respond “forcefully” to Saturday’s apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians and warning that Russia or any other nation found to share responsibility will “pay a price.”
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that as of Monday night, troops have been on a 72-hour alert and are fortifying their positions.
The Sound and Picture Organization, an activist collective in eastern Syria, said on Tuesday that Iranian fighters and members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group have evacuated their positions in the Boukamal area, near Iraq’s border.
A senior Russian lawmaker says Moscow is willing to help arrange a visit this week for experts from the international chemical weapons watchdog to the site of a suspected poison gas attack in Syria.
Syrian opposition activists say 40 people died in Saturday night’s chemical attack in the town of Douma, the last remaining rebel bastion near Damascus. The opposition blamed President Bashar Assad’s forces for the attack, accusations the government strongly denies.
Yevgeny Serberennikov, from the defense committee at the Federation Council, told the RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday that Russia is anxious for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to “finally start carrying out the functions it was created for.”
Russia’s offer comes as President Donald Trump is threatening an imminent military strike against Syria.