Russia and Israel resume military cooperation in Syria

Three months after a Syrian force accidentally shot down a Russian military Il-20 reconnaissance plane, in the midst of an Israeli airstrike against Iranian targets on Syrian soil; Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed that the militaries of Jerusalem and Moscow have resumed cooperation to assure deconfliction in Israel’s northern war-torn neighbor. At the beginning of a meeting with the Executive Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog, the Russian top diplomat underscored the importance of preserving the presiding coordinated-mechanism between the two militaries, aimed to guarantee the safety of the Russian forces operating in Syria, while preserving Israel’s security interests.  Sergei Lavrov said, “After the tragic accident which took place in September the measures have been taken to ensure the safety of the Russian contingent in the Syrian Arab Republic and several meetings between the representatives of the general staff of Russian and Israel. I believe both professional, and we hope that this will be continued. I hope this cooperation will be continued in the way which does not endanger the lives of the Russian soldiers, does not create problems for the efforts of the Syrian Arab Republic, for them and us in fighting terrorism and of course in the way that should assure the security of the state of Israel, that is very important.” Chairman Herzog, who formerly served as Israel’s Opposition leader, emphasized in his opening remarks that bolstering bilateral relations between Moscow and Jerusalem was imperative for regional stability. Due to the growing Russian influence in the region, Herzog also urged the Kremlin’s top diplomat ‘not to turn ‘a blind eye’ to Iran’s hostile activities that are directed toward the Jewish state.’ According to Isaac Herzog, “I welcome the progress and the dialog between Israel and Russia. I think its very important that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Putin meet once again to deal with the specific strategic issues, that’s very important. We in Israel are worried about that fact that there is a clear violation of the border between us and Lebanon, by Hezbollah. I think the message has to clear, both to Iran and to its agent Hezbollah, as well as to other agents of Iran in the region such as Hamas.”