Netanyahu, Putin to meet over Syria conflict

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, on September 21, 2015. (File Photo by Reuters)
Updated 21 August 2017
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Netanyahu, Putin to meet over Syria conflict

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Russia on Wednesday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, mainly focussing on the war in Syria, his office said late Saturday.
The two leaders will meet in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi to “discuss the latest developments in the region,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
Such talks have allowed the two countries to so far avoid any confrontation between their air forces, as Russia conducts airstrikes in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Israel has sought to avoid being dragged into the civil war, but has carried out strikes to prevent arms deliveries to the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which fights alongside Assad’s forces.
Israel’s army has carried out nearly 100 strikes in the past five years on convoys carrying weapons to militant groups in Syria and elsewhere, former air force commander Amir Eshel told the Haaretz newspaper on Thursday.
In March, Russia’s foreign ministry summoned Israel’s ambassador over air strikes close to Moscow’s forces near the historic Syrian city of Palmyra.
At the time, Israel’s intelligence minister Yisrael Katz told AFP that in general, Moscow was not informed of Israeli strikes in Syria ahead of time, even though a “hotline” was set up last year to avoid accidental clashes between the two countries’ forces.


Syria state media says US-led coalition hits regime position in east

Updated 30 min 11 sec ago
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Syria state media says US-led coalition hits regime position in east

  • In the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian government forces have carried out parallel but separate offensives against Daesh
  • Regime forces control land west of the Euphrates River that runs through the province

DAMASCUS: Syrian state media said overnight Sunday to Monday that US-led coalition aircraft had carried out a deadly strike on a regime position in the country’s east near the Iraqi border.
Both US-backed Kurdish-led fighters and Russia-supported regime forces are separately fighting the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor.
“Aircraft of the American coalition bombarded one of our military positions in the area of Al-Hari southeast of Albu Kamal” town in Deir Ezzor, state news agency SANA reported a military source as saying, adding a number of people had been killed.
IS overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, declaring a “caliphate” in areas they controlled.
But the jihadists have since lost most of that territory, in Syria seeing their presence largely reduced to the country’s vast desert and a few villages near the frontier with Iraq.
In the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian government forces have carried out parallel but separate offensives against Daesh.
Regime forces control land west of the Euphrates River that runs through the province, while the SDF are battling to expel IS from a string of villages on the river’s eastern banks near the Iraqi border.
Both sides have mostly avoided running into each other and a deconfliction line exists to avoid such incidents.
But there have been exceptions.
In April, rare clashes broke out between both sides, killing more than a dozen combatants.
In February, the US-led coalition backing the SDF carried out air strikes in Deir Ezzor province that killed at least 100 pro-regime fighters.
Washington said the strikes were in retaliation for an attack on its own personnel and SDF forces.