Israel-Russia summit meeting to decide Iran's future in Syria

Israel-Russia summit meeting to decide Iran's future in Syria
The state leaders of Israel and Russia will meet in Sochi on Wednesday to discuss the future of Syria and Iran's involvement in any ongoing ceasefire.
3 min read
23 August, 2017
Netanyahu will sit down with Putin again to discuss Iran’s control over Syria [Getty]
Israel's prime minister is to meet with the Russian president in the Russian city of Sochi located on the Black Sea, on Wednesday.

Binyamin Netanyahu will sit down with Vladimir Putin to discuss Iran’s control over Syria, which borders with Israel, the Israeli foreign ministry said.

The US, Russia, Jordan and Israel jointly set up a ceasefire in southwest Syria a few weeks ago, which will be "discussed in more detail," Israel said.

“There is really no agreement, only understandings [on] areas where there will be a ceasefire between the Syrian army and rebels who do not belong to Islamic State or al-Qaeda,” an unnamed official said.

“All the rest of the details are still coming together.”

The Israeli official told Haaretz that Russia must work together with the United States to limit Iran’s control over Syria, despite a breakdown in relations between the two countries.

Iran, Russia, and Hizballah have all backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brutal regime in the war, with Iran sending thousands of Revolutionary Guards and Shia militia fighters to bolster Damascus' decimated armed forces.

The head of Israeli spy agency Mossad, Yossi Cohen, and Netanyahu's newly named head of his national security council, Meir Ben-Shabbat, will join him on the trip.

The US is to start a new round of sanctions against the Kremlin at the beginning of September in response to Russia’s alleged interference in the US presidential elections.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met with Israel’s ambassador to Russia, Gary Koren in Moscow on Tuesday, reportedly to discuss developments in the Middle East.

However, as Ryabkov is more responsible for foreign policy with the United States than the Middle East, doubts were raised over the true reasons behind their meeting.

Mikhail Bogdanov, the foreign minister responsible for relations with the Middle East and Africa, met with the head of the EU Delegation to Russia, Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas.

Putin will also hold talks with the ambassador of the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to discuss "the plight of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa [and] the situation in Syria," the Kremlin said.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

The devastating six-year war has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced half the country's population since it began in March 2011.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.