Kfar Szold wildfire

A large fire caused by Syrian mortars hitting the Golan Heights in August. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ally of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, expressed concern Monday after the IDF fired in retaliation at a Syrian military position.

Just a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Moscow to prevent any “misunderstanding” between the two countries and to ensure Israeli’s ability to fight regional terror, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concern over an IDF airstrike that hit the Golan Heights.The Israeli strike was in response to a Syrian projectile that exploded in the Golan.

“We respect Israel’s interests related to the Syrian civil war but we are concerned about its attacks on Syria,” Putin said on Monday, following a meeting with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Israel’s Army Radio reported.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Sunday that the IDF could not ignore the spillover of the war in Syria into the Golan. “The State of Israel has no intention of ignoring such incidents, and the IDF therefore attacked two Syrian army artillery positions this evening,” he stated. “We view the Syrian regime and its army as being responsible for what happens in their territory, and we will not be tolerant in cases such as these.”

The war in Syria poses a risk to the relations between Israel and Russia. Russia is currently stepping up its direct military support for the Assad regime, including sending tanks and thousands of soldiers to Syria. Israel has tried to stay out of the conflict on its border, but has conducted periodic airstrikes against Hezbollah targets and in response to spillover artillery fire. Israel is also providing humanitarian aid to Syrian rebels in return for promises to keep Islamist terror groups away from the border and not to harm the Druze population.

Defense Minister Golan Heights

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon visits and IDF position on the Golan. (Eden Moladavski/Ministry of Defense)

Netanyahu visited Putin in Moscow last Monday, accompanied by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Military Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, in order to prevent the two countries from coming into direct conflict. “I thought it was very important that I come here, also to clarify our policies and to make sure that there is no misunderstanding between our forces,” Netanyahu told Putin in televised comments.

“We know that the Syrian army and Syria as a whole are in such a state that they have no time for a second front. They need to save their own state,” Putin said at the meeting last week, adding that he understood Israel’s concerns. “I am very pleased that you have come here to discuss all issues in detail,” he said.

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel