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The New Arab

Russian foreign minister and military chief to visit Israel for Syria talks

Israel occupies much of the Syrian Golan Heights [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 July, 2018

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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be joined by the country's military chief for talks in Israel on Monday
Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will host Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and military chief of staff on Monday, as the three top officials discuss war in Syria.

Netanyahu told his cabinet that Russian President Vladimir Putin had reportedly asked him to organise the meeting "in a conversation with me a few days ago".

Israel and Russia have worked closely together on the war in Syria, particularly as Bashar al-Assad's forces approached the occupied Golan Heights territories.

Israel has been concerned with the presence of Iranian militias in recent regime offensives, and carried out numerous air strikes on Tehran's military infrastructure in Syria.

Russia has reportedly been asked to use its influence in Damascus to keep Iranian forces away from its border with Syria. 

Despite this, Israel's government is also said to be comfortable with Assad's forces winning the war and normal returning to Syria, provided Tehran's influence is contained.

Israel captured Syria's Golan Heights in 1967 in an occupation condemned by the international community.

Syria has insisted that the return of these territories are essential to any peace deal with Israel.

Russia has been a stalwart supporter of Assad throughout the war and launched air strikes to support the regime in 2015.

Since then Russian airpower has been key to regime advances, which has seen Assad forces take control of most of Syria outside opposition Idlib province and Kurdish-controlled territories in the north.

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