MOSCOW: A Russian deputy foreign minister called for "restraint on all sides" on Thursday following Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria and said Moscow was "concerned" at the escalation.
"We have established contacts with all parties and we call for restraint from all parties," deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, adding that Moscow was "concerned" at the development.
Israel's army said Thursday it had hit dozens of Iranian military targets around Syria in one of its largest military operations in recent years and its biggest such assault against Iranian targets.
The strikes came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country has provided massive military and diplomatic backing to the Assad regime in Syria.
Putin has expressed "deep concern" over US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, a decision Netanyahu supported. On Wednesday the Russian leader called the situation in the Middle East "unfortunately very acute."
Netanyahu had told Putin that "it is the right of every state, certainly the right of Israel, to take the necessary steps in order to protect itself from (Iranian) aggression)", his office said in a statement Wednesday, referring to Iran's presence in Syria.
Israel carried out the raids after it said around 20 rockets were fired from Syria at its forces in the occupied Golan Heights at around midnight.
It blamed the rocket fire on Iran's Al-Quds force, adding that Israel's anti-missile system intercepted four of the projectiles while the rest did not land in its territory.
The incident came after weeks of rising tensions and followed US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from a key 2015 Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, a move Israel had long advocated.