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Putin and Netanyahu to discuss Israel’s military engagements in Syria


Putin and Netanyahu to discuss Israel’s military engagements in Syria

putin netanyahu syria
putin netanyahu syria
Photo: Jim Hollander/Reuters

NOTE: Due to domestic political developments in Israel, this meeting has been postponed to February 27.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Moscow today for talks with Vladimir Putin that will focus on military cooperation in Syria.

This this is their first formal meeting since Russia blamed Israel for the downing of a military aircraft over the Mediterranean last year. Tensions rose again in recent weeks after Israeli airstrikes in Damascus damaged Russian air defense and radar systems.

Today’s summit comes amid growing uncertainty around President Trump’s December announcement of the US’ withdrawal from Syria. Israel’s security elite are growing uneasy that as the war draws to a close an empowered Iran and powerful Hezbollah will be amassed close to their northern border.

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Mr Netanyahu has said he hopes Russia uses its influence to restrain Iran’s efforts in Syria. Given Russia’s necessary relationship with Iran, Putin is more likely to agree to a hands-off approach on Israel confronting Iranian proxies in Syria-on the condition that Russia is given proper notice prior. Nonetheless, expect further coordination between Israel and Russia in Syria, with the two likely agreeing work together to prevent further accidental engagement.

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