Russia tells Israel: we will not arm Hizbollah

Russia tells Israel: we will not arm Hizbollah
2 min read
02 February, 2016
Moscow says it has told Israel that it will not transfer any weapons to Hizbollah in Syria after earlier reports suggested Russia was aiding the Lebanese Shia movement.
Russia and Israel have been cooperating in Syria despite differences over Hezbollah [Getty]

The Israeli ambassador to Moscow, Zvi Heifetz, told a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on Monday that Russia has pledged not transfer any weapons to during military activity in Syria, according to Haaretz newspaper.

Ambassador Zvi Heifetz’s remarks were reported to the newspaper by several law makers who attended the meeting.

Moscow’s pledge was sparked by a report in The Daily Beast a few weeks ago asserting that Russia was supplying arms to  Hizbollah as part of its ongoing operations in Syria, where it is working in to support Iran and the Syrian regime.

"We are strategic allies in the Middle East right now—the Russians are our allies and give us weapons," The Daily Beast quoted one Hizbollah commander as saying.

In December, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israeli forces have been operating in Syria against Hizbollah.

"We…do everything to prevent weapons, particularly lethal ones, being moved from Syria to Lebanon," he said.

Israel and Russia have made arrangements to avoid clashes over Syria, with the agreement said to include a "hotline" and information sharing.

Israeli military analysts have said that this agreement may involve Russia agreeing to prevent arms transfers from the Syrian regime to Hizbollah, although this is unlikely to be carried out in practice.  

In December, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israeli forces have been operating in Syria against Hizbollah.

"We…do everything to prevent weapons, particularly lethal ones, being moved from Syria to Lebanon," he said.
 
In light of developing ties between Moscow and Tel Aviv, many analysts believe Israel's assassination of Hizbollah commander Samir Kuntar could not have taken place without Russia's knowledge.