Published: 21:06, April 19, 2024
Türkiye warns of wider conflict after Iran-Israel tension
By Xinhua
This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows the dual-use civilian airport and air base in Isfahan, Iran, April 18, 2024. Iran fired air defenses at a major air base and a nuclear site early Friday morning near the central city of Isfahan after spotting drones, which were suspected to be part of an Israeli attack. (PLANET LABS PBC VIA AP)

ANKARA/DAMASCUS – Türkiye on Friday expressed its concern that tensions between Iran and Israel could turn into a wider conflict, calling on both countries to refrain from any steps that could escalate the conflict after an alleged Israeli attack against Iranian targets.

"In light of the latest developments, it is becoming increasingly evident that the tensions that were initially caused by Israel's illegal attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus risk turning into a permanent conflict," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry stressed that the priority of the international community should be to stop the conflict in Gaza and to ensure lasting peace in the region by establishing a Palestinian state.

READ MORE: Explosions heard in Iran's Isfahan, IAEA says no damage to nuke sites

Three explosions were heard in Iran's central Isfahan province on Friday, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported. The Fars later confirmed that anti-aircraft fire had caused the explosion-like sounds in the province.  

Iranian worshippers chant slogans during an anti-Israeli gathering after Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, April 19, 2024. (PHOTO / AP)

Israel targets Syrian air defense sites

In the early hours of Friday, the Israeli military launched a series of airstrikes targeting Syrian air defense sites in the southern region, the Syrian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The airstrikes started at approximately 2:55 am local time on Friday (2355 GMT Thursday) from northern Israel and aimed at air defense installations in southern Syria, it said.

The strikes caused material losses, but no casualties were reported, it added.

ALSO READ: Leaders from Mideast urge de-escalation

More than six Israeli aircraft were observed flying in southern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The radar battalion was specifically targeted by the airstrikes. Despite the deployment of Syrian air defenses, no interceptions were made, said the organization.

Iranian-backed militias within Syrian territories reportedly took precautionary measures ahead of the airstrikes.