Netanyahu meets Russian defense minister on Syria situation

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-17 19:42:56|Editor: Zhou Xin
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JERUSALEM, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met on Tuesday in Jerusalem to discuss the developments in Syria and Iran, Israel said.

Shoigu arrived in Israel on Monday, a few hours after Israel struck a Syrian army anti-aircraft missile battery. Russia is one of the strongest supporters of President Bashar Assad's regime and carries out frequent air strikes in Syria.

Shoigu's meeting with Netanyahu "mostly dealt with Iran's attempt to establish itself militarily in Syria," according to a statement released by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.

Netanyahu told Shoigu that "Iran needs to understand that Israel will not allow this," the statement read.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also took part in the meeting.

Israel worries that Iran will establish a stronghold along its northern border. It also charges that the Iran arms Hezbollah, Iran-backed Lebanese militia, with new weapons. Iran denies it sent weapons to Hezbollah.

Netanyahu, a prominent opponent of the Iranian nuclear agreement, also told Shoigu that "Iran will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons within 8-10 years if the deal is not changed."

According to Israeli media, Israel informed Russia about the attack, 50 km east of Damascus, "in real time."

For the past few years, Israel and Russia have been coordinating their operations in Syria to avoid conflict in the volatile region, according to Israeli officials.