Russian military officials in Israel to coordinate over Syria strikes

#SyriaWar

Russia and Israel agree on a mechanism to avoid 'misunderstandings' and clashes in Syrian airspace between the two militaries' jets

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin (AFP)
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Last update: 
Friday 9 October 2015 15:39 UTC
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Russian military officials were to hold talks with their Israeli counterparts in Tel Aviv on Tuesday after the countries' leaders agreed to establish a mechanism to avoid accidental clashes in Syria.

Israel's military confirmed the two-day meeting on "regional coordination," which comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks last month related to Syria.

The two agreed on a mechanism to avoid "misunderstandings" and clashes in Syrian airspace between the two militaries' jets.

Tuesday's talks were to include Russian Deputy Chief of Staff Nikolai Bogdanovsky and his Israeli counterpart Yair Golan.

Israeli military officials reportedly fear that Russian airstrikes could cut their room for manoeuvre in Syria.

Several purported strikes on Iranian arms transfers to Hezbollah through Syria have occurred in recent months that were not officially acknowledged by Israeli authorities.

Moscow informed Israel it was about to launch airstrikes in Syria before its attacks last week, the first by Russian warplanes in the years-old conflict.

Russian warplanes have been flying over Syrian territory since Wednesday, conducting airstrikes on what Moscow says are targets belonging to the Islamic State (IS) group in the country's northern and central provinces.

The West has accused Moscow of using the raids as cover to hit moderate opponents of Russian ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel opposes Assad, but has sought to avoid being dragged into the war in neighbouring Syria as it feats that it would strengthen Islamic rebels.

Netanyahu has said he is determined to stop arms deliveries to Lebanon's Hezbollah movement and accused Syria's army and Iran of trying to create a "second front" against Israel.

Putin, however, has reassured Netanyahu that Syria and Iran are not planning a war against Israel.