Russia, Israel to coordinate in Syria to avoid ‘accidents’

Netanyahu says Israel and Russia have agreed to set up coordination mechanism in Syria to avoid accidental clashes

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, September 21, 2015.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to set up a coordination mechanism in order to avoid accidental clashes between Israeli and Russian forces in Syria, as Russia recently deployed troops in the country.

"My objective was to prevent misunderstandings between IDF [Israel Defence Force] units and Russian forces," Netanyahu told reporters.

“We [Netanyahu and Putin] agreed on a mechanism to prevent such misunderstanding.”

Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin comes after a Russian build-up in Syria including warplanes and anti-aircraft missile systems, according to reports.

Russia’s moves in Syria have worried neighboring Israel which has occasionally conducted air strikes in Syria against Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad’s ally Hezbollah.

"I'm here because of the difficult security situation, which is becoming increasingly complex on our northern border," said Netanyahu.

Israel is also concerned that military hardware deployed in Syria could be in the hands of Hezbollah and may be turned against Israel one day, according to Israeli officials.

Netanyahu discussed the issue with Russian President Putin.

"Our policy is to do everything to stop weapons from being sent to Hezbollah," said Netanyahu.

Putin, on the other hand, has already announced that Russia will continue to support Assad and send military equipment to Syria where Moscow has a Mediterranean naval base.

TRTWorld and agencies