High-level Russian delegation in Israel for talks on Syria

High-level Russian delegation in Israel for talks on Syria
Talks on Syria will be held between the Israeli prime minister and leading Russian officials.
2 min read
29 January, 2019
Netanyahu is due to meet Russian foreign affairs officials [Getty]
Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet senior Russian foreign ministry officials on Tuesday, for talks that are expected to discuss the situation in Syria where Israeli air strikes have stepped up again.

Russia's special representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin are in Israel for a diplomatic mission since Monday with the Russian team due to meet Netanyahu on Tuesday.

"Special Envoy of President for Syria Aleksandr Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Vershinin held talks with the Director-General of Israel MFA Youval Rotem and other diplomatic officials. Tomorrow the delegation will continue work," Russia's embassy tweeted.

Rotem also confirmed the meeting, which follows strengthening ties between the countries' two leaders.

"Held a productive meeting with Russia's Special Representative for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev & Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey Vershinin," tweeted Yuval Rotem, director general of Israel's ministry of foreign affairs.

"We had a meaningful & insightful discussion about a variety of regional issues."

Israel is concerned about the growing presence of Iranian soldiers and militias in Syria, and has been striking targets of the Iran Revolutionary Guard across the country.

The attacks have stepped up in recent weeks following a brief lull in September, after a Russian aircraft was accidently shot down by Syrian air defences following an Israeli sortie in the Latakia area.

The incident led to a diplomatic crisis between Russia and Israel with Tel Aviv scaling back its almost weekly strikes in Syria and Russia deploying its S-300 air defence system to Syria.

Iran has poured thousands of militia fighters and army commanders into Syria to bolster Bashar al-Assad's regime, and have been key to the Damscus' fight-back against the opposition.

Iran and Syria signed a series of economic deals on Monday, highlighting Tehran's entrenched position in the war-torn country.

Israel struck a range of Iranian military targets on 20 January, including what Tel Aviv says was a training camp.