TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday to discuss ways to strengthen coordination between Russian and Israeli air forces, so as to avoid confrontation in Syria.
Netanyahu’s visit to Russia is scheduled to last only five hours. According to the Kremlin, the two leaders plan to discuss“Russian-Israeli cooperation in trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian areas as well as some pressing international and regional issues, including the situation in the Middle East and in Syria.”
Netanyahu and Putin will exchange views on ways of “strengthening coordination between the Israeli Army and the Russian armed forces on Syria, as well as a whole series of issues important for the security of Israel,” Netanyahu said, as cited by TASS.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli prime minister is also set to discuss Iran’s involvement in Syria.
Earlier this month Israel launched three attacks on military targets in Syria, using jets and ground-to-ground missiles, the Syrian army reported. Damascus also claimed that it has shot down one Israeli jet and one missile. “We have a longstanding policy to prevent the transfer of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Syrian territory. This policy has not changed. We back it up, if necessary, with action,”Netanyahu said at an event with NATO officials in Jerusalem, as quoted by the Times of Israel.
In November, Netanyahu said he made it crystal clear to Washington and Moscow that Israel would continue to “act in Syria.” His statement came after Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin reaffirmed joint efforts to support a ceasefire in the Syrian region bordering Israel and Jordan. Tel Aviv has been pushing the US and Russia to deny Iran, Hezbollah, and Shia militias any permanent bases in Syria, and to keep them away from the border with the Golan Heights.
“We are controlling our borders, we are protecting our country and we will continue to do so,” Netanyahu said in remarks to members of his right-wing Likud party, as quoted by Reuters. “I have also informed our friends, firstly in Washington and also our friends in Moscow, that Israel will act in Syria, including in southern Syria, according to our understanding and according to our security needs,” he stated.
Last month, the Israeli Defense Forces launched several missiles at a strategic target close to Damascus, with Israeli and Arab media reporting it as an airstrike. Syrian state TV said “military positions” were targeted by surface-to-surface missiles.