Netanyahu Meeting Putin to Avoid Clashes with Russians in Syria

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is flying to Moscow Monday for a three-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The meeting will focus on Israel's concern over Russia's deepening involvement in Syria, which includes troop deployment and the supply of military materiel and ammunition.

Israel will also tell Russia that despite Moscow's cooperation with Iran in propping up the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, Israel will continue to operate in its regular sphere of action – a probable reference to attacks on targets within Syrian and Lebanese territory that have been attributed to Israel.

According to Israel Hayom, Israeli sources stress that Jerusalem is coordinated with the US on this matter, and that the US is holding a similar dialogue with the Russians on the same issue.

Netanyahu will be accompanied by IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, and Military Intelligence Chief, Maj. Gen. Hertzi Halevy, as well as National Security Council Head Yossi Cohen and Netanyahu's military secretary, Col. Eliezer Toledano.

Unlike most of Netanyahu's trips abroad, there will be no journalists on the plane this time. The presence of men in uniform is meant to stress the gravity with which Israel views the possibility that the IDF will find itself inadvertently fighting Russian troops, according to Israel Hayom.

'Highly effective and very accurate'

A Syrian military source revealed last Thursday that President Bashar al-Assad's regime has in recent weeks begun using advanced air and ground weapons from Russia, in a worrying sign of Moscow's growing role in the bloody Syrian civil war.

The source told Reuters that the new weapons feature high efficiency and accuracy, and that Assad's army trained on them for several months before their recent deployment on the battlefield.

"New weapons are being delivered, and new types of weapons. The Syrian army is being trained in the use of these weapons. In fact, the army has started using some of these (weapon) types," revealed the source.

"The weapons are highly effective and very accurate, and hit targets precisely. We can say they are all types of weapons – be it air or ground."

The revelation corroborates numerous reports of escalated Russian military support and even direct intervention on behalf of the Assad regime.


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