AACHEN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are calling for de-escalation in the Middle East after an alleged Iranian rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the Golan Heights prompted Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria.
Merkel and Macron met in Aachen, Germany on Thursday on the sidelines of a ceremony where Macron was awarded a prize for contributions to European unity. The German government said they discussed events in the Middle East and called for “level-headedness and de-escalation in the region”.
Merkel alluded to the two countries’ support for the Iran nuclear deal. She said: “We know that we face an extremely complicated situation here. The escalation of the last few hours shows it is truly a matter of war and peace, and I can only call on all involved to exercise restraint.”
Syria’s military says overnight Israeli airstrikes killed three people, wounded two and destroyed a radar station, an ammunition warehouse, and damaged a number of air defense units.
Syrian Brigadier General Ali Mayhoub, who read the statement on Syrian television on Thursday, says Syrian air defense systems had intercepted “the large part” of the incoming Israeli strikes.
Mayhoub did not say whether Iranian forces or Iran-backed militiamen were among those killed or wounded.
Israel’s defense minister says the military struck “nearly all” of Iran’s military facilities in Syria. A Syrian war monitoring group says the strikes killed at least 23 people, including five Syrian soldiers.