Netanyahu heading to Russia to warn of Syria aid threats
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Russia next week to speak with President Vladimir Putin about the deployment of Moscow’s forces to Syria and the threats to Israel caused by weapon deliveries to Damascus, his office said Wednesday.
Netanyahu will discuss the dangers Israel faces if Hezbollah and other terror groups obtain Russian advanced weapons shipments, according to a government press release.
Israel opposes Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, but has mostly sought to avoid being dragged into the conflict in neighboring Syria.
Russia has recently stepped up military aid to Damascus, despite protestations from the US and elsewhere.
Moscow has been one of Syria’s staunchest backers throughout the civil war, along with Iran and Tehran’s Lebanese proxy terror group Hezbollah.
Lebanon’s powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah, with which Israel fought a devastating 2006 war, is a staunch ally of Assad and has sent fighters to support his forces.
Israel has also expressed fears that the nuclear deal reached between six world powers, including Russia, and Iran could see money freed up as sanctions are lifted flowing to Hezbollah and other terror groups.
Relations between Israel and Russia have been negatively affected by Moscow’s willingness to sell military equipment to Iran, which has said it seeks to destroy the Jewish state.