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Russia and Israel discuss ways to prevent troop friction in Syria

January 18, 2019 at 10:36 am

Israeli soldiers can be seen during a military drill in Golan Heights on 1 May 2018 [Jaala Mareya/AFP/Getty Images]

Officials of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have announced that they have held a series of meetings with a delegation of senior Russian army officers to discuss ways to improve relations between their troops and prevent friction. The IDF released the news via Twitter on Thursday, reported Anadolu. Although it was not specified, the meetings are believed to have taken place in Israel.

“The IDF Operations Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Yaniv Asor, presided over the meetings held by high-ranking military staff of the two armies,” said the statement. “They discussed the development and improvement of the friction prevention mechanism on the northern front, as well as the Israeli army activities against Iranian positions and Hezbollah militarisation in Syria.”

The IDF added that “understandings” have been reached. The two sides agreed to continue the dialogue.

Russia-Israel relations were strained after Israeli fighter jets shot down a Russian reconnaissance aircraft and killed 15 soldiers on board last September during air strikes on sites in Syria. Moscow has accused Israeli pilots of using the IL-20 aircraft as a shield against Syrian anti-aircraft missiles, which hit the Russian plane.

The incident occurred within the context of Russia supplying the Syrian regime with the advanced S-300 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system, a move strongly opposed by Israel. The Israelis expressed regret for the incident and blamed Syria and Iran for Tehran’s quest to consolidate its presence in Syria and supply Hezbollah with weapons that Israel considers a major threat.

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