Netanyahu tells Putin: Israel will defend itself against Iranian aggression in Syria

“I presented Israel’s obligation and right to defend itself against Iranian aggression from Syrian territory,” Netanyahu told Putin as the two leaders met to discuss strategy.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss the latest security-related developments in the region, specifically in Syria.

The two leaders met at the Kremlin after attending a Victory Day parade marking the 73rd anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany. Netanyahu received a world-class reception as befitting a leader of a world power.

“I have just finished almost 10 hours in the company of President Putin. We attended very moving events – the parade marking the victory over the Nazis and other events, and of course there were also good and useful talks,” Netanyahu stated after the meeting.

Netanyahu said he presented Israel’s perspective on issues, including Iran’s secret Amad Project to develop nuclear weapons, which Israel exposed last week, and the current tension surrounding Iran’s military presence in Syria, which Israel views as a direct threat to its security.

“I presented Israel’s obligation and right to defend itself against Iranian aggression from Syrian territory. The Iranians declare their intention to attack us. They are trying to transfer forces and deadly weapons there with the explicit goal of attacking the State of Israel as part of their strategy to destroy the State of Israel,” Netanyahu stated.

“I told President Putin that it is the right of every state, certainly it is Israel’s right, to take such steps as are necessary to defend itself against this aggression. I think that matters were presented in a direct and forthright manner, and this is important. These matters are very important to Israel’s security at all times and especially at this time,” he added.

Russia has placed significant forces in Syria and backs Syrian President Basher al-Assad’s regime.

Prior to the meeting Putin said that he and Netanyahu would “discuss bilateral relations and problems in the region. Unfortunately, the situation is very acute. I would like to express hope that you and I will not only manage to discuss, but also find solutions that will lead to a shift in the situation and allow us to find ways to resolve heated conflicts.”

Netanyahu’s departure to Russia on Wednesday took place just hours after President Donald Trump announced that the US was leaving the nuclear deal with Iran and not long before Iran’s Quds forces launched a barrage of rockets at IDF bases on the Golan Heights in northern Israel. It was the first Iranian attack on Israeli soil in history, an assault that prompted an extensive Israel Air Force (IAF) attack on dozens of Iranian targets in Syria.

Russia’s TASS news quoted IDF Spokesman Jonathan Cornicus as saying that Israel had notified Russia prior to delivering strikes at targets in Syria. The Russian side was informed about the attack via a deconflicting mechanism the two countries’ military have been maintaining since 2015, Cornicus said.