Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Hezbollah would not be allowed to benefit from Russia’s increasing involvement in Syria. The day prior, PM Netanyahu met with President Putin to ensure that the two countries would not come into conflict over Syria.
By: Lauren Calin, World Israel News
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday that Israel will not allow Hezbollah to obtain sophisticated Russian military equipment in Syria. His comments came one day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that he had reached an understanding with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to prevent accidental conflict between the two countries. Israel has periodically attacked Hezbollah targets within Syria.
“We have something to say on this matter. We have no intention of giving up our freedom to act and defend our clear red lines, not allowing the transfer of advanced weapon systems to Hezbollah, certainly not chemical weapons,” Ya’alon told Israel Radio.
Russia has been increasingly open about its involvement in Syria, where it is intervening on the behalf of the Assad regime. It attempted to covertly send 28 combat aircraft to the country, and is gathering 2,000 troops at a base near Latakia on the Mediterranean coast.
Netanyahu met in Moscow with Putin on Monday, joined by IDF Chief of Staff Eisenkot and Military Intelligence Head Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi. The purpose of the trip was to avoid a clash between Russia and Israel in Syria, particularly in light of Hezbollah’s heavy involvement on behalf of the Assad regime. Israel has admitted to attacking Hezbollah targets within Syria to prevent it from acquiring advanced and chemical weapons. It is also providing humanitarian aid to Syrian rebels stationed near the Golan Heights in return for promises to keep Islamists away from the Israeli border and to not harm the local Druze minority.