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Israeli Leader To Raise Concern About Iran's Military In Syria With Putin

23 August 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Russian Federation on Wednesday to meet with President Vladimir Putin regarding the threatening situation in Syria, fueled by Iran.

Netanyahu said that the head of Israel's Mossad national intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, and the head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat, will join him in the meeting. Netanyahu is due back in Israel later in the day for talks with White House peace envoys Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Dina Powell.

"I will raise the problem of Iran trying to establish a military presence in Syria", Netanyahu said on August 22.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said that Iran's attempts to establish a permanent military foothold in Syria pose a problem for Israel and the entire Middle East.

Netanyahu's visit to Russian Federation comes amidst a string of victories by President Bashar Assad's army and its allies, Iran and Hezbollah.

The trip to Moscow comes less than a week after Cohen led a delegation of senior Israeli officials to Washington for meetings there with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and other top United States officials regarding the same issue.

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Iran, an avowed enemy of Israel, has not responded to Netanyahu's repeated allegations that it seeks to bolster its military presence on the Jewish state's borders. "We will find the common diplomatic and political interest with the United States, and later on with Russian Federation, in order to combine our efforts and effect Iran's return to its place", Yoav Gallant, a member of Netanyahu's security cabinet, told Israel's Channel Two television. According to a number of reports, the team that visited Washington last week returned to Israel empty handed and without any USA pledges that a cease-fire in Syria would lead to the evacuation of Iranian and Hezbollah forces from the country. He also said that it was preferable for Israel that Bashar al-Assad remain president after the war.

As in previous meetings between Netanyahu and Putin, Netanyahu is expected to express Israel's concern that weapons supplied by Russian Federation to Iran and Syria are being given to Hizballah. In comments published this week, the chief of Israel's air force said Israel had struck suspected Hezbollah arms shipments in Syria around 100 times during the Syrian civil war, apparently without Russian interference and rarely drawing retaliation.

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Israeli Leader To Raise Concern About Iran's Military In Syria With Putin