Netanyahu seeks Russian buffer zone near Golan Heights

Netanyahu reportedly asked Putin to support a Russian-US buffer zone near Israel’s Golan Heights region, to keep out Hezbollah and Iran-backed militias. 

Speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested that Russia and the United States cooperate on a buffer zone in Syria extending eastward from Israel’s Golan Heights region, as originally reported by the London Times.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, confirmed the two leaders’ phone conversation about Syria.

“Mr. Putin and Mr. Netanyahu continued their exchange of opinions on topical issues of Russia-Israel cooperation,” the Kremlin stated. “In the context of joint efforts against international terrorism, they discussed the Middle East settlement and the situation in Syria.”

Specifically, Israel is pushing for an arrangement that would keep “Hezbollah or other Iranian-backed militias” from having a presence in the zone, which would extend approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) beyond the border.

The report added that Israeli officials have been on the sidelines of recent discussions between the US and Russia over the future of Syria.

Netanyahu’s reported request to Putin precedes US President Donald Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Putin, at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on Friday. For his part, Trump has expressed opposition to Russia’s continued support of Iran and Syria.

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On Thursday during an address to the people of Poland, Trump urged Russia to cease “its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran, and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and the defense of civilization itself.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News