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The New Arab

Netanyahu flies to Moscow to complain about threats from Syria and Lebanon

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R) [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 January, 2018

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to raise concerns over Iran's military consolidation in Syria and its inroads in Lebanon.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow on Monday to discuss Israeli-Russian military coordination and Iran's operations in Syria and Lebanon.

Netanyahu is joined by Minister Zeev Elkin, a security cabinet official with close ties to Russia, as well as National Security Adviser Meri Ben-Shabbat and Military Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi.

Netanyahu is expected to press Russian President Vladimir Putin on maintaining Israel’s freedom of action in both Syria and Lebanon’s airspace – Israeli officials say they need to block alleged weapons smuggling to Hizbllah through Syrian territory.

Before departing for the Russian capital, Netanyahu told reporters Iran was trying to “turn Lebanon into one big missile site, a site for manufacturing precision missiles against the State of Israel."

"This is something we are not prepared to tolerate,” he added.

The Israeli delegation will also seek to assess how strongly Russian officials oppose the Trump administration’s efforts to reopen the Iran nuclear deal – and how far officials will go to oppose any changes to the agreement.

In December, Putin met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the war in Syria.

At the meeting, Rouhani said that foreign involvement should end in Syria – unless specifically invited by the Syrian government.

According to Fars News Agency, senior military official Ali Shamkhani confirmed that Iran plans to maintain its military intervention in Syria for the foreseeable future.

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