(JNS.org) The heads of the Israeli and Russian militaries met for the first time Monday as the two countries announced further joint coordination of their Syria-related activities.
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot met with Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Army General Valery Vasilevich Gerasimov following a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the Netanyahu-Putin meeting, the two nations agreed to form a “joint mechanism” in order to prevent any potential clashes between Israeli and Russian forces in Syria.
An Israeli source said both sides agreed to coordinate in “air, naval, and electromagnetic areas,” and that the first joint working group between the two militaries will meet in two weeks, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Israel has become increasingly concerned about the activity of Iran and its proxy—the Hezbollah terrorist group—in Syria, while Russia has been moving to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his fight against the Islamic State terrorist organization and other rebel groups.
“I would say that the importance of preventing misunderstandings [between Israeli and Russian forces] is very big,” Netanyahu said after his meeting with Putin. “Israel is constantly working to prevent the transfer of advanced and deadly weaponry from Syrian territory to Hezbollah. Israel is not prepared to accept a second terrorist front that Iran is trying build on the Golan Heights.”