Russian delegation visits Israel to discuss military coordination in Syria

A senior Russian military delegation will visit Israel today for two days of talks on how both countries can avoid accidentally clashing while operating in Syria, an Israeli military officer told Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on September 21 to set up teams as Moscow steps up military support for Bashar al-Assad.

Israel is worried the Russian deployment, which includes advanced anti-aircraft units and warplanes, risks pitting Russian forces against its own over Syria.

Israel has attacked Syrian armed forces and Hezbollah during the four-year conflict. It has said it holds the Syrian government responsible for any spillover of violence.

On September 27, Israel struck Syrian army targets on the Golan Heights in retaliation for cross-border rocket fire.

In August, it waged its heaviest bombardment since the conflict began, killing Palestinian resistance fighters in response to cross-border fire.

Though Russian officials have consistently stated that they are specifically bombing ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra positions, reports from on the ground indicates that other rebel groups have been targeted, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other “moderate” factions.

The Russian delegation will be led by First Deputy Chief of General Staff General Nikolai Bogdanovsky, who will meet his Israeli counterpart, Deputy Chief of Staff Major-General Yair Golan later today.

 

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