30 Dec 2019 21:43

Moscow urges Washington, Hezbollah to refrain from steps that could destabilize situation in Iraq, Syria

MOSCOW. Dec 30 (Interfax) - Russia has condemned reciprocal strikes carried out by Hezbollah and U.S. troops in Iraq and has called on the opposing sides to show restraint.

"Moscow is seriously concerned by the exchange of strikes between the Hezbollah military and political group and units of the U.S. Armed Forces, which are deployed in Iraq. [...] We view such actions as unacceptable and counterproductive. We are urging all parties to refrain from further steps, which are fraught with the possibility of a sharp destabilization of the military and political situation in Iraq, Syria, and their neighboring countries," the Russian Foreign Ministry Information and Press Department said in a statement on escalating tensions in Iraq and Syria.

The airbase near Kirkuk, which is used by U.S. forces, came under a missile strike, which left a civilian specialist dead and several servicemen injured on December 27, according to information received by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"On December 29, the U.S. carried out, as they said, defensive pinpoint strikes on five Hezbollah sites in western Iraq and eastern Syria, which, as reported, killed 25 people and injured roughly 50. Baghdad publicly denounced these strikes, which, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, violate the country's sovereignty and threaten its security," the statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website said.