Russia decries shelling of its embassy in Syria

2015-09-21 22:20
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Moscow - Russia has said that a shell landed on the grounds of its embassy compound in Damascus, Syria, without inflicting any casualties or damage.

The mortar landed on the embassy's territory around 09:00 on Sunday morning and caused no damage or injuries, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.

"A large labelled fragment of the shell was later extracted from the earth by Syrian mine clearance specialists," the ministry's statement added. "Efforts are now being taken to find out how this shell came across to militants."

The Russian ministry blamed the "criminal attack" on "anti-government gunmen" who it claims fired the shell from Jobar, a district of the Syrian capital.

'Clear position'

The ministry called for "concrete action", adding: "We expect a clear position over this terrorist attack from all members of the international community, including regional parties."

The attack comes at a time when Russian has been criticised for increased military involvement in Syria, where it is a staunch ally of embattled President Bashar Assad.

The Russian government has admitted to having military advisers on the ground in Syria and delivering surface-to-air missiles and combat aircraft to Syrian government forces, as well as refortifying a government-controlled military base near the coastal city of Latakia.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin reiterated his country's support for Assad forces on Sunday. Speaking on Russian television, Putin said the Syrian government "is trying to maintain its own statehood".

Foreign involvement

The Russian foreign ministry's statement claimed the groups behind the attack were acting at the behest of "foreign sponsors", although it did not clarify which countries. No groups have claimed credit for the shelling at this time.

Rebel groups have denounced the ongoing Russian military build-up in Syria. Speaking to Reuters, one militia, Jaish al-Islam, claimed to have executed a missile attack on a military base in Latakia being used by Russian soldiers.

Abu Ghaith al-Shami, spokesperson for the Free Syrian Army-aligned Alwiyat Seif al-Sham militia, told Reuters that rebels' regional backers may also increase their involvement.

"As for the states that support us, ... I think there will be a change in their attitude towards us, via support, or perhaps a political shift," the spokesperson said.

Read more on:    russia  |  syria

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