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Israel slams Russian arms sales to Syria

Senior Israeli officials harshly criticized Russia on Friday for agreeing to supply Syria with advanced anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said the sale “encouraged Damascus to turn to war.” “Syria is moving between peace overtures and its temptations to go to war, to which arms supply is an incentive,” Peres said. Knesset member Silvan Shalom said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “playing with fire.” Russia has re-emerged as a major arms supplier to Iran and Syria, Israel’s arch-foes, despite protestations of friendship to the Jewish state. Past Israeli warnings that Russian arms sales to Damascus would wind up in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists were borne out in last summer’s war.