Secretary of State John Kerry says US military experts believe the Russian planes sent to an air base in Syria are there for basic “force protection”, intended to protect Russian soldiers and assets already on the ground.
Netanyahu was accompanied to Moscow by the Israeli army chief of staff and the head of Israeli military intelligence. Briefing Israeli reporters after the talks, Netanyahu said that they had “agreed on a mechanism” to ensure that such “misunderstandings” do not happen, without elaborating further. The regime had also received “sophisticated military equipment to fight IS” including targeting equipment and precision-guided missiles, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A rapid Russian build-up in Syria, that regional sources have said includes warplanes and anti-aircraft systems, worries Israel, whose jets have on occasion bombed the Arab country to foil suspected handovers of advanced arms to Mr Assad’s Lebanese guerrilla allies Hezbollah. The coastal province of Latakia is a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces have encountered a series of military setbacks in 2015 and have professed military “fatigue.” “People are fleeing a war and the activity of Islamic State”, he added.
That official also said Russian Federation was operating drones over Syria, but did not give additional details.
They said the idea was to conduct a small yet visible operation – potentially including air or artillery stokes against ISIS.
But Putin has claimed that Russia’s actions in the Middle East “have been and always will be very responsible”.
Russian surveillance drones are flying missions over Syria as a buildup of aircraft was observed at the Latakia, Syria, air base, U.S. officials said.
The Wall Street Journal journal reported on Tuesday that new satellite images appeared to reveal Russian Federation expanding its military presence in Syria, near the Mediterranean coast.
The top United States diplomat said it was not new that Russian Federation is supporting Assad, but argued that its actions would alienate Syrians and neighboring governments and serve to destroy Moscow’s influence in the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, during their meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, Russia.