A "realistic opportunity has been created to push Iran out of Syria," a high-ranking Israeli official said Wednesday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, their third meeting over the last six months.
“It’s not wishful thinking. Russia, too, is not fond of Iranian presence in Syria, and even (Syrian President) Assad understands that the Iranians are exploiting him to promote their own interests in the area. Therefore, it is important to coordinate with the Russians and others involved in this conflict,” explained the source.
The main focus of the meeting between the two leaders was the tensions along Israel's border with Syria amid the ongoing civil war in the neighboring country.
The two also discussed the World Cup currently taking place in Russia and Sunday’s upcoming final and later watched the England-Croatia semi final game together.
Only hours after the IDF intercepted a drone which approached the Israeli border from Syria, Netanyahu stressed to Putin Israel’s position against Iranian military entrenchment in the area.
He also underlined that Israel will continue to act against any attempt to undermine its sovereignty.
“Several hours ago, a Syrian drone approached Israel’s airspace. We intercepted it, and we will continue to act firmly against any infiltration into Israel's airspace or territory. We expect that everyone will respect our sovereignty and Syria strictly adhere to the separation agreement,” stated the prime minister.
Putin is set to meet with US President Donald Trump in a few days, and it was important for Israel to clarify its position on the issue before these talks take place.
“We’re operating in a very crowded space, and not only do we not clash with the Russians, we coordinate militarily, these days as well,” said the prime minister after the meeting.
“We are operating against Iranian and Hezbollah targets and we’ll maintain our freedom of action,” Netanyahu concluded.
Immediately after the meeting, Netanyahu, along with his wife Sara, hurried to the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, to watch a World Cup semi-final between Croatia and England. He was also accompanied by two Israeli teenagers suffering from terminal illnesses.
“I haven’t been this happy in a long time,” said Alon Isreyev, one of the teenagers who suffers from cancer. He was born in Russia and undergone a heart transplant from a Croatian donor.
“It’s very exciting to be able to make their dream come true,” added the prime minister.