ANC criticises Israel after attack on Syria

"We view this as provocation that can only escalate hostilities in the Middle East, which in our view complicates and undermine[s] the need for [a] peaceful resolution of the Syrian problem," African National Congress deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We believe that the cessation of hostilities by all protagonists is a precondition for the … attempt to save lives and bringing about lasting peace."

French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that Israeli air raids on Syria at the weekend killed at least 42 soldiers.

The strikes on Sunday near Damascus was Israel's second reported air raid on Syria in 48 hours. An early Friday raid targeted a weapons storage facility at Damascus airport.

A senior Israeli source reportedly said the raids targeted Iranian weapons destined for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Iran and Hezbollah are allies of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

International condemnation
Syria has been involved in a civil war since 2011, with armed conflict between government forces and rebels who want to oust Al-Assad.

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said the Israeli air strike on Damascus was unacceptable and had given the Syrian government an opportunity to cover up its own killings.

"The air strike Israel carried out on Damascus is completely unacceptable. There is no rationale, no pretext that can excuse this operation," Erdogan said in Parliament. 

"These attacks are chances, opportunities offered on a golden tray to Assad and to the illegitimate Syrian regime. Using the Israel attack as an excuse, he is trying to cover up the genocide in Banias," he said. 

Iran's UN ambassador Mohammad Khazaee complained to the United Nations about the air strikes, describing them as "provocative and unwarranted attacks".

"Nothing can justify the use of force and act of aggression against a sovereign state and the aggressor must be held accountable for any consequences stemming from this condemnable and illegitimate act which endangers regional and international peace and security." – Sapa, Reuters

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