Netanyahu and Putin discuss “continued security coordination in this sphere”

PM speaks with Putin for second time this week, conversation centered on Israel-Russia military coordination; UNSC adopts Russian-Turkey brokered ceasefire; Russia and Iran agree to continue “close coordination” to try to end “Syrian crisis”

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Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone on Saturday evening, the conversation centered on Syria and military coordination between Russia and Israel.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders discussed developments in the region, with emphasis on Syria and continued security coordination in this sphere, which has already proven itself in preventing misunderstandings.”

This is the second conversation held between the two leaders this week. Netanyahu spoke with Putin on Tuesday, their conversation centered on the United Nations anti-settlement resolution passed and the peace process. During the conversation “The leaders exchanged opinions on Middle East peace process and urgent developments of the general situation in the region. They agreed to maintain Russian-Israeli contacts at various levels.”

In December of 2015, Russia and Israel agreed to military coordination in the region, mainly in Syria. Upon announcing the military coordination, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that “There is ongoing and continuous military coordination between us [Israel and Russia]” and that “We [Israel] do not accept or owe Russia limitations on our freedom to act.”

Saturday’s conversation comes just as the United Nations unanimously adopted the Russian-Turkish brokered ceasefire in Syria. It is the third agreement to a ceasefire in Syria in 2016, all 15 members of the Security Council voting in favor of the resolution.

However, rebel forces of the Free Syrian Army threatened to abandon the ceasefire if Assad’s Regime and Hezbollah fighters did not stop its efforts to push rebel forces out of the Wadi Barada Valley. Rebel forces have reported that Assad’s regime is preparing a ground attack on rebel forces in the valley northwest of Damascus, Russia’s Defense Ministry claiming numerous violations by Syrian rebels on Friday.

The Free Syrian Army released the statement: Continued violations by the regime and bombardment and attempts to attack areas under the control of the revolutionary factions will make the agreement null and void.

Putin also held a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday, the leaders reportedly “agreeing to continue their close coordination in trying to end the Syria crisis.”