(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Moscow Thursday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the meeting, Netanyahu sought to further enhance the “enduring relationship” between the two countries and to “continue the ongoing link between Israel and Russia in order to prevent friction” in Syria.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that Netanyahu conveyed “Israel’s strong opposition to the presence of Iranian forces, and those of its proxies” on Israel’s northern border with Syria. Since becoming actively involved in the Syrian civil war in 2015, Russia has worked closely with Iran in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Despite Russia’s alliance with Iran and its proxies in Syria, Israel has reportedly conducted several airstrikes targeting Iranian-sponsored weapons convoys heading tothe terror organization Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Regarding Iran’s military presence in Syria, Netanyahu stated, “This is a very important meeting for the security of Israel. Victory over the terrorism of Daesh (Islamic State) cannot lead to an upsurge in terrorism by Iran and its proxies. We will not exchange terrorism for terrorism.”
Netanyahu also reaffirmed to Putin that Israel’s control over its northern Golan Heights region would not be included in any proposal for resolving the Syrian conflict.
During his visit to Moscow, Netanyahu was accompanied by a delegation including Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection Ze’ev Elkin; Acting National Security Advisor Jacob Nagel; Prime Minister’s Bureau Chief of Staff Yoav Horowitz; Herzl Halevy, head of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate; and Military Secretary to the Prime Minister Eliezer Toledano.