Leaders to discuss Iran, Syria as part of military coordination between Russia and IDF; Netanyahu: Talks ensure freedom of action for the State of Israel against Iran and its proxies, which declare their intention of using Syria as a front in their war to destroy Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday.

The leaders will discuss regional developments as part of Israel and Russia’s ongoing military coordination on Syria. Netanyahu confirmed this week, “I will discuss with him the continued strengthening of the coordination mechanism in order to prevent friction between the IDF and the Russian military. These talks are very important and are part of our continuing effort to ensure freedom of action for the State of Israel against Iran and its proxies, which declare their intention of using Syria as a front in their war to destroy Israel.”

It will be Netanyahu’s first visit to Moscow since the downing of the Russian Il-20 aircraft in September of last year. The leaders met briefly in Paris during the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I Armistice in November and spoke by telephone last month on “the situation in Syria and recent developments and agreed on continued coordination between the Israeli and Russian militaries.”

Their meeting follows the Sochi summit on Syria held last week where Putin again hosted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks on Syria. Their meetings centered on the reconstruction of Syria, Syrian political reform, Idlib and northeast Syria. The leaders, “discussed the situation in the northeast of Syria and, while respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, decided to cooperate and coordinate their activities for the safety, security and stability of the region, including the cooperation within the framework of the existing agreements,” in reference to the Adana Agreement of 1998 between Syria and Turkey and the Ankara Agreement of 2011 between Turkey and the EU.

Russia focused the talks on the “hotbed of terrorists” fighting in Idlib, in reference to the Salafist jihadist militant group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, announcing there is no Russian offensive planned and placing pressure on Turkey to confront the “terrorists”. Turkey currently has 12 de-escalation zones surrounding Idlib.

On the United States’ withdrawal from Syria, the leaders released the statement, “It is our joint view that the US withdrawal is a positive move that will help stabilize this part of Syria, where legitimate government control should eventually be restored.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend at the Warsaw Summit which Russia did not attend. Addressing Israel’s warming relations with Arab neighbors and Iran’s presence in Syria following his trip to Poland, Netanyahu stated, “There was a historic change at this conference of great importance to Israel: There were 60 foreign ministers and envoys from countries there, including Arab countries with which we do not have relations, who sat together with Israel and took the stand that we set against Iran.”

He added, “I told them that the Iranian aggression is the main factor undermining the Middle East and the entire world and that we must prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons and block its military entrenchment in Syria. We will continue to act at all times in order to ensure the security of Israel.”

On US-Israel relations, he stated, “The bond between Israel and the US is stronger than ever.”

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