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Syrian opposition chief invited to Moscow. Lavrov-Biden meeting.
Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad has accused Israel of trying to “destabilise” his country. It was his first remarks on last week’s reported Israeli air strike in Syria, BBC reports.Syrian TV has shown images of the raid Damascus says Israeli jets carried out on a military research centre in Jamraya last Wednesday.US officials said the air strike targeted a weapons convoy bound for Lebanon. The Israeli defence minister has hinted his country was responsible.Ehud Barak told a security conference in Germany on Sunday that the strike was “proof that when we say something we mean it”.“We don’t think [Syria] should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon,” he told the meeting of top international diplomats and defence officials.President Assad said in a meeting with a top Iranian official in Damascus on Sunday that last Wednesday’s raid “unmasked the true role Israel is playing… to destabilise and weaken Syria”.But he said his country’s military was able to confront “current threats… and aggression”.Syria’s state al-Ikhbariya television showed what it said was the aftermath of the air strike at the research centre at Jamraya, north-east of Damascus. Footage of damaged buildings and burnt out cars was combined with accounts from witnesses.One said he broke his shoulder and suffered hand and leg injuries. “When the bombardment ended I tried to help the people who were injured,” he was quoted as saying. But a US official told the BBC last week that the target was a convoy carrying SA-17 surface-to-air missiles.Israel has repeatedly warned of the danger that Syria’s chemical weapons could fall into the hands of Lebanon’s Hezbollah.In another development, the head of Syria’s main opposition coalition has been invited to Moscow after having his first direct talks with Russia’s foreign minister.Sergei Lavrov and Moaz al-Khatib, who leads Syrian National Coalition, met on the sidelines of an international security conference in Munich. Moscow is a long-time ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.Later, Mr Lavrov met US Vice-President Joe Biden and UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. Mr Biden told the conference it was “no secret” that Moscow and Washington had “serious differences” on issues such as Syria.But he added: “We can all agree… on the increasingly desperate plight of the Syrian people and the responsibility of the international community to address that plight.” After meeting Mr Lavrov, Mr Khatib said: “Russia has a certain vision but we welcome negotiations to alleviate the crisis. There are lots of details that need to be discussed.”