Middle East

Russia calls for action after shell hits Damascus embassy

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) talks to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a session of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

MOSCOW: Russia's foreign ministry Monday called for "concrete action" after a shell landed on its embassy compound in the Syrian capital, blaming forces battling Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"A shell fell on the territory of the Russian embassy in Damascus on September 20 around 9:00 a.m., going deep into the ground without causing damage," the ministry said in a statement.

"We...condemn the criminal shelling of the Russian diplomatic presence in Damascus. We await a clear standpoint on this terrorist act from all members of the international community, including regional actors."

"What is needed is not just words but concrete action," the statement said, adding that "the shelling of the Russian embassy was done from the direction of Jobar, where the anti-government militants are based."

The militants have "outside sponsors" who are responsible for influencing their actions, the foreign ministry said.

The Russian embassy in Damascus' Mazraa neighbourhood had been hit by shells on prior occasions. In May, one person was killed by mortar rounds that landed nearby. Three were hurt when mortar rounds landed inside the compound in April.

The United States has accused Russia of recently deploying troops, artillery and aircraft to the war-torn country, ratcheting up fears Moscow may join in the fighting alongside its old ally Assad.

Moscow has insisted it is only fulfilling long-standing military contracts and is currently on a diplomatic push to get a US-led coalition of Western and regional powers fighting the Islamic State group to join forces with Assad against the jihadists.

 

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