Lebanon to file UN complaint over Israel’s ‘Syria airstrike’
Lebanon is set to file a complaint to the United Nations Security Council over Israel’s alleged use of Lebanese airspace to launch airstrikes on Syria, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
Russia and the Syrian military blamed Israel for a pre-dawn missile attack on Monday which came hours after a suspected regime chemical attack in the rebel stronghold of Douma killed dozens of civilians.
At least 14 fighters, including Iranians, were killed in the strike on the T-4 airbase in Homs province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Israel’s foreign ministry had no comment when asked about the accusations.
“The [Foreign Ministry] condemns the [Israeli] attacks on the Syrian Arab Republic and affirms its previous positions that Lebanese airspace should not be used to attack Syria, noting that Lebanon will make a formal complaint to the UN Security Council on the matter,” a statement from the Lebanese ministry said.
The ministry said that the strikes had been carried out from Lebanese airspace.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said two Israeli aircraft fired eight missiles at the T-4 airbase. It said Syria shot down five of them while the other three landed in the western part of the base.
Syrian state TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying that Israeli F-15 warplanes fired several missiles at T4. It gave no further details.
On Wednesday, Lebanon’s Public Works and Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos said that Middle East Airlines, the national flag-carrier airline of Lebanon, will temporarily halt flights over Syria as fears mount of a possible US strike.
“This is no need to panic,” he told media. “The decision was taken as a precautionary measure.”
The decision was taken in accordance with warnings from the European Aviation Safety Agency and the airline will reroute its flights.
The new routes will come into effect on Wednesday evening and are due to last until Friday.
Skies around Syria appeared empty of civilians on flight tracking apps Tuesday evening, as Europe’s air traffic control body warned against travel over or near Syria.
Eurocontrol echoed this with a warning to flight operators in the eastern Mediterranean early Wednesday.
The body said pilots should exercise caution in and around Syria over the next 72 hours, due to expected air strikes on Syria.
“Due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean/Nicosia FIR area,” the body said according to Reuters.
It mentioned a document from the European Aviation Safety Agency, Europe’s safety regulator, which sparked the warning.