Russia and Israel have agreed to coordinated measures to prevent miscalculations in Syria that could trigger a wider war, visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday following talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Netanyahu gave no details on what he described as a “joint mechanism” between Israel and Russia to avert misjudgments, and the Kremlin had no immediate comment. But in his interview with Israel Radio, Mr. Netanyahu said the step was aimed at “prevent misunderstanding between our forces.”
“The importance of preventing a misunderstanding is very great,” said Mr. Netanyahu, who held talks with Mr. Putin at the Russian president’s residence near Moscow.
The agreement comes amid concerns about a Russian military buildup in Syria, where a civil war is now deep into its fifth year. U.S. military officials say Russia’s deployment of a small number of fighter aircraft to Syria and its reinforcement of a coastal base indicate that Moscow is preparing to involve Russian forces directly in the war in support of its longtime ally, embattled President Bashar al-Assad.
Israel closely monitors arms transfers to the Lebanese military and political movement Hezbollah from Syria, and has carried out several airstrikes on Syrian territory against convoys of advanced weapons, including Russian-made surface-to-air batteries, allegedly bound for the group.
Mr. Netanyahu indicated Monday that Israel would continue acting to interdict arms deliveries to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah or any Iranian-supported military buildup in the Golan Heights.
“When Israel acts, it’s important that everyone, including Russia, know how we are acting,” he said. “It’s better to prevent a misunderstanding before it happens, and not afterward.”
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