Netanyahu and Putin discuss Syria

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian President agree on continued coordination in Syria.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

Netanyahu, Putin
Netanyahu, Putin

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since the US military withdrawal from Syria was announced.

“The two discussed the situation in Syria and recent developments and agreed on continued coordination between the [Israeli and Russian] militaries,” said a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel is determined to continue its efforts to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria,” it added.

Netanyahu “congratulated President Putin and the Russian people on the occasion of the civil new year and expressed his condolences over the disaster in Magnitogorsk,” concluded the statement.

Netanyahu and Putin have held several meetings in recent months over Israel’s concern over the Iranian presence in Syria, but relations between the countries had cooled since the downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane over Syria in mid-September.

The plane, which was carrying 15 crew members, was later declared lost, after apparently being downed by a Syria surface-to-air missile.

Russian officials blamed Israel for the downing of the IL-20, saying the IDF had provided just one-minute advance notice of the impending airstrike to Russian Defense Ministry officials, adding that the Israeli fighter jets had used the IL-20 to draw the Syrian air defense network’s fire.

Israel denied the claims, saying its jets were already out of the combat zone and in Israeli airspace when the IL-20 was downed, and that the IL-20 had been far from the area of the airstrikes during the Israeli operation.

An IDF delegation was later dispatched to Moscow to share information collected by Israel as part of its investigation into the incident.

The Russian government refused to accept the validity of Israel’s investigation into the incident, however.

Friday’s conversation between Putin and Netanyahu follows US President Donald Trump’s announcement last month that Washington would pull out all its troops from Syria, though the exact timeframe remains unclear.

Russia has a strong presence in Syria and has supported President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in that country’s civil war.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)