A Russian military crew arms a bomber in Syria. (AP/Alexander Kots, Komsomolskaya Pravda) (AP/Alexander Kots, Komsomolskaya Pravda)
Russia arming Syria

Top Russian military officials are in Israel for two days of meetings over coordination on Syria, where Moscow has stepped up assistance to the Assad regime. Israel fears Russia could interfere if the IDF needs to act against terrorists in Syria who threaten the Jewish state.

A high-level Russian military delegation is due in Israel Tuesday for a two-day visit focusing on how the two countries can avoid conflict on Syria. The discussions are taking place following a meeting in Moscow between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin last month on the subject.

Russia has dramatically increased its military assistance to the Assad regime against rebel groups, pouring heavy armor, combat aircraft, and thousands of soldiers into Syria. Although Israel has generally attempted to stay out of the war in Syria, it has conducted airstrikes in order to prevent Assad’s ally, Hezbollah, from obtaining advanced weapons, as well as in retaliation for mortar fire spilling into the Golan Heights. The latest such incident was on September 27, when Israel responded to Syrian artillery fire with an airstrike. Putin expressed concern over the action.

The Russian delegation is being led by Deputy Chief of General Staff General Nikolai Bogdanovsky, who will meet with Israel’s deputy chief of staff, Major-General Yair Golan. “The two will meet at military command headquarters in Tel Aviv as part of the two-day visit of the Russian army delegation to Israel. Among other matters, they will discuss regional coordination issues,” an Israeli officer told Reuters.

“I went to Moscow to make it clear that we should avoid a clash between Russian forces and Israeli forces,” Netanyahu told CNN in an interview Sunday. “In Syria, I’ve defined my goals. They’re to protect the security of my people and my country. Russia has different goals. But they shouldn’t clash.”

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel

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