Russia seeks Israeli support to ease US sanctions on Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin is asking Israel to push the US to drop some of its sanctions against the Syrian regime as Moscow looks to get its hands on reconstruction opportunities in the war-torn country, a report said Wednesday.
Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that Russian companies are hesitant on doing business in Syria in light of US sanctions on Damascus, sources briefed on last week's meeting told US news outlet Axios.
The meeting took place in the Russian resort town of Sochi on 22 October.
Bennett’s office declined to comment on the reports, Axios said.
Moscow is worried that Iran, which defies the sanctions and continues to deal with the regime in Damascus, could snatch up major reconstruction projects, according to the sources.
Israeli officials say Russia wants to boost its revenues and play an important role in Syria’s post-war economy, which could be hindered by Iran’s presence.
Both Russia and Iran are heavily involved in the decade-old Syrian conflict, supporting Bashar Al-Assad’s regime and militant proxies.
The US Caesar Act was signed in late 2019 and imposes sanctions on anyone doing business with Syria. But as several Arab governments normalise their relations with Assad’s regime - with some calling for Syria to get its seat back at the Arab League - countries are now eyeing reconstruction opportunities.