Netanyahu to quiz Putin on Syria concerns
Among Israel’s concerns is that Israeli warplanes could come up against Russian-operated anti-aircraft systems
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow on Monday to seek reassurance from President Vladimir Putin about Russia’s military deployment in Syria and to lay out Israel’s concerns about the risk of weapons reaching militants on its borders.
Netanyahu said his visit to Moscow was aimed at preventing clashes between Russian and Israeli military forces in the Middle East.
Putin, meeting with Netanyahu, said Russia’s actions in the Middle East would be always “responsible.”
With fighter planes part of the rapid Russian build-up, Israel is worried about the threat of fire accidentally being traded with Russian forces, especially since it has carried out air raids against militants in southern Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters suspected of smuggling arms.
A former strategic adviser to Netanyahu said the Israeli leader would try to work out “ground rules” with Putin about avoiding such clashes.
The United States, which along with its allies has been flying missions against ISIS insurgents in Syria, has also been holding so-called “deconfliction” talks with Russia.
“It could come down to Israel and Russia agreeing to limit themselves to defined areas of operation in Syria, or even that they fly at daytime and we fly at night,” said the ex-adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Among Israel’s concerns is that Israeli warplanes could come up against Russian-operated anti-aircraft systems or even Russian-flown jets.
Russian military aid
Netanyahu took along top Israeli generals for his talks with Putin, who is trying to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against a rebel Syrian insurgency in its fifth year.
That top-of-the-line Russian military hardware may now be deployed in Assad’s favor has stoked concern his ally, Hezbollah, could also benefit. That Russians might be at the controls of these systems gives Israeli planners further pause.
Sources close to Netanyahu said he would present Israeli intelligence accounts of past transfers of arms, some of them Russian-supplied, to Hezbollah, and seek reassurances Moscow would maintain control of its latest reinforcements.
Putin has pledged to continue military support for Assad, assistance that Russia says is in line with international law. Russia has been focusing forces on the Syrian coast, where it has a major naval base.
The Kremlin has said Putin and Netanyahu would discuss “the relevant issues of bilateral cooperation and international agenda” during their meeting in the president’s residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, near Moscow.
Russia a game changer in war on ISIS: Syria FMDamascus labels all those involved in the war against President Bashar al-Assad as “terrorists,” including Western-backed rebels Middle East
Russia sends jets to Syria, resumes U.S. military talksRussia has sent fighter jets to Syria, U.S. officials said, raising the stakes in a military buildup that has put Washington on edge Middle East
U.S. and Russian armies launch talks on SyriaKerry said U.S. hopes that ‘military-to-military’ discussions with Russia on the conflict in Syria will begin very shortly Middle East
Is Russia fighting for the last of Assad’s Syria?Moscow is looking to prop up what is left of Assad’s “useful Syria” – the mini Alawite coastal state Middle East
Germany calls for dialogue with Russia on SyriaMerkel urged for the need to solve Syria crisis as the number of refugees reach a new record in Hungary World News
Russia calls for U.S. talks on Syria to avert ‘unintended incidents’Russia called for military cooperation with the U.S. to avert ‘unintended incidents’ as it stages navy exercises near syrian coast World News
Obama: Russia’s involvement in Syria indicates Assad is worriedObama said on Friday that Russia's escalated military involvement in Syria is an indication that Assad is worried Middle East
Media hysteria over Russia and SyriaThe current hysteria is odd because Russia had previously been asked to join the international coalition against ISIS Middle East
Russia and Iran seek control of Syria and IraqMoscow wants to convince the world that it is not invading Syria Middle East