Netanyahu Putin

The Israeli leader plans to fly to Moscow next week to relay concerns that a Russian military presence in Syria would hinder operations against the Hezbollah terror organization and also threatens the security of the State of Israel. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Moscow next week to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin the deployment of Russian military forces in Syria and the potential threat this could create for Israel, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Wednesday.

“The prime minister will present the threats against Israel that arise as a result of the increased flow of advanced weapons into the Syrian arena and the trickle of deadly weapons to Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations,” the statement read.

Russia has reportedly deployed ground troops on Syrian soil in support of President Basher al-Assad’s regime. Russia has been a long-time ally of Assad and has propped up his regime by sending finances, weapons and advisors to assist him in contending with the various rebel groups in Syria.

In recent days, Moscow has sent about half a dozen battle tanks and other weaponry — along with military advisers, technicians, security guards and portable housing units — to Syria with the apparent goal of setting up an air base near the coastal town of Latakia, an Assad stronghold.

Israel fears that Russian ground forces in Syria could hinder Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran, through Assad and Syria, to arm the Hezbollah terror organization in Lebanon.

Jerusalem and Moscow have already had a disagreement on Russia’s maneuvers in the region this year. Netanyahu called Putin in April to protest the Kremlin’s announcement that it would sell Russian-made S-300 advanced anti-aircraft batteries to Iran. He expressed Israel’s “grave concerns” regarding the decision to sell the surface-to-air missiles to the Islamic Republic.

Netanyahu has just returned from a visit to the United Kingdom and is slated to address the UN General Assembly in New York at the end of the month.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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Source: United with Israel