Netanyahu to meet Putin next week over Iran’s role in Syria
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian resort of Sochi next week, his office said on Saturday. Israel is deeply concerned about Iran’s effort to establish a permanent foothold in Syria, especially on Syrian-Israeli borders, on the back of Russian-US initiatives to de-escalate the Syrian war.
Russia, also Bashar Assad's backer, is seen as holding the balance of power in achieving a deal on Syria's future. Israeli leaders have pointed to Tehran's steadily increasing influence in the region during the six-year-old Syrian conflict, whether via its own Revolutionary Guard forces or imported foreign Shiite proxies, especially Hizballah. Israel has carried out dozens of strikes to prevent weapons-smuggling to the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hizballah via Syria.