Russia, Israel to talk Syria in Tel Aviv: Israeli Officer
A high-ranking Russian military delegation is set to hold talks with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv on Russia’s operations in Syria, an Israeli officer says.
The Israeli military officer said on Monday that the Russian delegation will visit Israel on Tuesday for talks on ways Israeli and Russian military forces can avoid clashes while operating in Syria.
It is said that Russia’s First Deputy Chief of General Staff General Nikolai Bogdanovsky, who will head the Russian military team, will meet Major General Yair Golan, the Israeli deputy chief of general staff, during the two-day visit.
“The two will meet at military command headquarters in Tel Aviv as part of the two-day visit of the Russian army delegation to Israel. Among other matters, they will discuss regional coordination issues,” the Israeli officer said.
The development comes as Russia has been conducting airstrikes against the positions of the terrorists across Syria upon a request from the Damascus government since September 30.
Israel has expressed concern that Russia’s operations in Syria may lead to accidental trade of fire as Tel Aviv sporadically targets fighters of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah inside Syria. Hezbollah has been helping Damascus in its fight against the militants.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to Russia and discussed the issue of Russia’s operation in Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow several days before the Russian operations began.
Following the meeting, Netanyahu said his talks with the Russian leader were aimed at preventing clashes between Israeli and Russian military forces in Syria.
During the meeting, Putin tried to soothe Israeli concerns on Russia’s presence in Syria, saying Moscow will act responsibly in its decisions in the Middle East.
The Russian leader also dismissed Netanyahu’s allegations of a potential Syrian offensive against Israeli forces in the occupied Golan Heights, calling them unfounded. He said the Syrian army “has no time for a second front” as it is busy fighting militants across the Arab country.
Reports over the past four years have shown that Israel has provided support for militants fighting the Syrian government.