Russia 'especially concerned' by Israel's Syria strikes

Russia voiced concern Monday at Israeli air strikes against Syrian targets, saying that they threatened to escalate tensions in neighbouring countries.

"We are looking into and analysing all the circumstances surrounding the especially concerning reports of the May 3 and May 5 Israeli air strikes," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"A further escalation of the armed conflict severely raises the risk of creating centres of tension in Lebanon as well as in Syria, and also destabilising the still relatively stable situation in the region of the Israeli-Lebanese border," the statement said.

Israel is yet to officially confirm that it has struck Syrian targets, including surface-to-air missiles that one source said were believed to have been delivered by Russia, a long-standing ally of the Syrian government.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel reserves the right to preserve its security at all times.

The Russian foreign ministry also urged the West not to politicise the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria, which officials suggest has now been carried out by both sides.

"We insistently urge to stop politicising this extremely serious question and whipping up an anti-Syrian atmosphere," the ministry statement said.

It added that Moscow shared UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's "deep concern" with how events were unfolding in the war-torn nations.