Putin makes snap visit to Syria to send message to Iran

Putin wanted to make clear that Russia won’t tolerate Iranian reprisals from Syrian territory, sources report.

By World Israel News Staff

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Syria. Arab diplomats say he came in order to send a clear message to Tehran that Russia won’t permit any retaliation against Israel from Syrian soil, Israel Hayom reports.

Putin’s visit is meant to calm Syria and let it know that Russia won’t let its territory become ground zero in a fight between Iran and Israel, should the Islamic Republic decide to take revenge on the Jewish State for the killing of its most famous general, Qassem Soleiman, the Arab sources told the paper.

Russia condemned the killing of Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike last week. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the targeted killing could lead to “grave consequences for the regional peace and stability” and “a new round of escalating tensions.”

Tzvi Yehezkeli, analyst for Israel’s Channel 13, said on Wednesday that Soleimani was a “kind of partner” with Russia, helping it fight ISIS and save Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Putin reportedly delivered a message from Israel during his Syria visit, another Arab source tells Israel Hayom. If Assad prevents the Iranian Revolutionary Guard from carrying out attacks from it territory, Israel will refrain from responding on Syrian territory.

Israel’s assumption is that Iran will retaliate against U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and Middle East region and won’t target Israel. However, it’s maintaining a high state of readiness in case that assumption proves incorrect, the paper reports.

Putin headed to Istanbul following his visit.

Putin’s Syria visit comes two weeks before he will attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem on Jan. 23.