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Iran has backed Syria's "right to defend itself" after Israel launched strikes on what it said was Iranian military infrastructure inside Syria.

In the first comments by Iran since Thursday's wave of strikes, the foreign ministry condemned the "blatant violation of Syria's sovereignty".

The strikes were the heaviest carried out by Israel on Syria in decades. They came after 20 rockets were fired at Israeli military positions in the occupied Golan Heights.

Foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted on Iranian state TV as saying: "Iran strongly condemns... [Israel's] attacks on Syria. The international community's silence encourages Israel's aggression. Syria has every right to defend itself."

Qasemi said Israel "cannot stand peace and stability in the region and sees its own safety in making the region all the more unstable".

He said Israel's "baseless pretexts amount to a blatant violation of Syria's sovereignty and goes against all international conventions".

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