Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu announced that the liberation of Syria is coming to a close during a meeting with Avigdor Lieberman, the Defense Minister of Israel in Tel-Aviv on October 16.
“I would particularly like to discuss everything connected to Syria,” Shoygu said. “The operation there is nearing completion and some issues need to be tackled immediately, while the prospects for the situation in Syria also need to be discussed.”
“Despite the matters of military cooperation, the main problem is terrorism and the overall situation in the region,” he added. “We believe that whenever there is open dialogue we can overcome all problems.”
Shoygu also met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on October 17, during which Netanyahu said that Israel will not allow Iran’s permanent military presence in Syria.
“Iran must understand that Israel will not allow it,” the Prime Minister stressed.
During his September meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu accused Iran of building sites in Syria and Lebanon to produce missiles allegedly aiming to eradicate Israel. Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow has “no information that someone is preparing an attack on Israel.”
Israel has been opposing Iran-based Hezbollah presence in Syria. Iran has been providing support to the Syrian government in its fight against various terrorist groups alongside Russia and Turkey as one of the guarantor states of the de-escalation zones in Syria. Tehran has repeatedly refuted the allegations that its military had conducted independent operations in Syria.
The Israeli prime minister and the Russian defense minister have also discussed the US president’s decision not to certify the Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu has reiterated Tel Aviv’s stance, warning that if the deal remains as is, Iran will acquire nuclear weapons in 8 to 10 years.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly voiced support for Israel’s stance on the nuclear agreement, calling it a “bad deal for Israel.”