"In Moscow we have seen with deep concern the statements distributed in
the media by representatives of the so-called Free Syria Army that
international civilian airports of Damascus and Aleppo are from now on
seen as military targets," the Russian foreign ministry on Monday said
in a statement.
State-owned RIA Novosti news agency on Friday reported on a rebel
statement cited by London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper saying
Damascus and Aleppo airports and commercial flights would be targeted
from Tuesday because they were being used for military aviation.
The claim from the rebels is that Russia and Iran have been shipping Syria weapons via the civilian airports
"We consider such threats absolutely unacceptable," the Russian foreign ministry said. "From a moral and legal point of view this means the opposition's
critical proximity to a red line, beyond which are acts that are no
different from the crimes of Al-Qaeda."
"The most recent statement by the Free Syria Army essentially confirms
that terrorism is turning into one of its main methods of activity," the
Russia called for "taking action on the leaders of the Free Syria Army
in the most decisive manner to excluse such threats, not to mention
their being carried out", and reiterated calls for Russians to avoid
travel to Syria.
Russia said on Monday it would work with other countries to ensure
that the rebel Free Syria Army stops making “unacceptable” threats,
following the announcement on Friday that the FSA now views Syria’s two
biggest civil airports as “military targets,”the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website.
“These kinds of threats are absolutely unacceptable,” the Foreign Ministry commentary said. “They are a gross violation of international law, first and foremost
the Chicago Convention of 1944 governing international civil aviation,”
it said, and called on countries that have influence with the FSA to put
an end to the threats.
The FSA earlier warned airlines to suspend service to Damascus and
Aleppo, saying rebel forces could begin attacking airports in the two
cities as early as Tuesday, the London-based daily Asharq Alawsat
reported on Friday, citing the FSA's high command.
“The civil airports of Damascus and Aleppo may become targets of FSA
attacks beginning on Tuesday next week, since they are being used by the
criminal regime for military aviation to carry out strikes against
Syrian rebels,” the report said.