Russia’s bolstering of its military aid to Syria has concerned U.S. officials.
Russia’s only Mediterranian port is the Tartus naval base where it can operate aircraft carriers, and has done since 1971 when Assad’s father granted them rights. In addition to the combat aircraft that were deployed over the weekend, a total of 15 Russian Hip transport and Hind attack helicopters are also stationed at the base, the official reportedly said. While Netanyahu believes that Iran and Syria fuel terrorism, Putin has made clear that his government supports Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
“Yes, they have increased aircraft and there are certain kinds of aircraft there which, depending on what Russia’s decision is about its long-term intentions, could raise questions”, Kerry said.
In recent weeks it is thought that Russian Federation has sent a number of battle tanks to Syria and that Moscow is planning on establishing a base at Latakia, having already despatched military advisers and technicians in support of the Assad regime.
Professor Baruch Gur-Gurevich from the University of Haifa said, “The background for the meeting is a large military and political initiative by Putin to restabilize Syria and Iraq, as part of maintaining the integrity of these two countries”.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow. The country is also locked in a civil war with an organization of rebels known as the Free Syrian Army.
The rise of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL) over the previous year has anxious both Russian Federation and the United States, but Washington’s worldwide coalition to strike ISIL has come in spite of Assad, whose removal remains a USA foreign policy objective and a point of contention with Moscow.
After the meeting, Netanyahu said they had agreed a mechanism to co-ordinate military action in Syria, to prevent their troops from accidentally exchanging fire, adding: “Israel and Russian Federation share a common interest to ensure stability in the Middle East”.
The two leaders agreed on ways to prevent an unintended confrontation between Israel’s military and Russian forces deployed in Syria, Netanyahu told Israeli reporters after the talks, the Haaretz daily reported.