Middle East

Netanyahu sets off to Russia after Israel strikes Syrian army positions

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has traveled to Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin after the Tel Aviv regime hit military positions in Syria, which enjoys Moscow’s support in its anti-terror drive.

Netanyahu headed to Moscow on Wednesday, saying in advance, “The meetings between us are always important and this one is especially so,” AFP reported.

A day earlier, Syrian state media said Israel had attacked Syrian army positions south of the capital Damascus, prompting the country’s air defenses to shoot down two Israeli missiles.

Tel Aviv regularly conducts such attacks, sometimes trying to hit Syrian military positions, but mostly aiming at targets belonging to Hezbollah. The Lebanese resistance movement has been helping the Syrian military out in the face of terrorists.

In February, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov warned against escalation of tension in the Middle East after Israel carried out an airstrike in Syria, only to have one of its F-16s shot down for the first time. Following the Israeli airstrike, Putin asked Netanyahu during a phone conversation to avoid moves that could lead to “a new round of dangerous consequences for the region.”

Moscow has been backing Syrian forces against terrorists since September 2015 at Damascus’ request.

In his remarks before departing, Netanyahu also said, “In light of what is currently happening in Syria, it is necessary to ensure the continued coordination between the Russian military and [that of Israel].”

Earlier in the week, Israel’s former minister for military affairs Moshe Ya’alon claimed that the regime nearly shot down a Russian jet that was approaching its “airspace” back in 2015.

The incident took place shortly after the launch of the Russian military campaign in Syria.

Ya’alon said the Israeli air force was prepared to shoot down the Russian jet if it had not maneuvered away. A hotline was set up between the two sides afterwards to avoid airborne collisions, he alleged.


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