Russia Asks, Is Israel's Air Strike Against Syria, A Prelude To Foreign Intervention into Syria?
May 7, 2013 • 9:04AM

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich, expressing deep concerns over the Israeli air strike against Syria on May 5, said, "We are seriously concerned by the signs of preparation of global public opinion for possible armed intervention in the long-running internal conflict in Syria." He pointed out that Russia was also analyzing the reports of Israeli air strikes on May 3 and May 5 on sites in the suburbs of Damascus, which caused particular alarm. "The further escalation of armed confrontation sharply increases the risk of creating new areas of tension, in addition to Syria, in Lebanon, and the destabilization of the so far relatively calm atmosphere on the Lebanese-Israeli border."

China's Foreign Ministry said on May 6 it opposes the use of force, and reiterated its call that national sovereignty be respected.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Moscow and will be holding talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and with President Vladimir Putin, among others. According to AP's Bradley Klapper, who cited unnamed government officials saying Kerry will attempt to persuade President Putin to support, or at least not veto, a fresh effort to impose UN penalties on Syria if Assad doesn't begin political transition talks with the opposition. To make his case, Kerry will present the Russians with evidence that Assad's regime used chemical weapons.

However, as BBC's Bridget Kendall pointed out on May 6, UN investigator Carla Del Ponte's statement that the rebels may have used sarin gas, but not the Syrian government, might therefore complicate matters for Kerry. "If Mr. Kerry was hoping to cite fears that the Assad regime was now using chemical warfare as a reason why the Russians should shift their position, that argument will not be so easy to make," Kendall added.