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Netanyahu: Israel Will Act In Syria As Necessary

14 November 2017

Israel has largely stayed on the sidelines of the Syrian war, but officials have acknowledged carrying out dozens of airstrikes on suspected weapons shipments to Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, a United States government official said Monday that Russian Federation agreed "to work with the Syrian regime to remove Iranian-backed forces to a defined distance" from the Golan Heights border with Israel.

The PMO did not say when Netanyahu spoke with Putin.

The US team is in Israel to discuss the ceasefire deal brokered by the US, Russia and Jordan, designed to reach a new cease-fire agreement in southern Syria that will create a "de-escalation zone" adjacent to Israel's border, where Iran and Hezbollah, its terror proxy, will not be allowed to establish a presence.

Speaking to a special session of the Knesset on Monday, Netanyahu said he told Washington and Moscow that Israel will act according to its "security needs".

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Describing Israel's security policy as the "right combination of firmness and responsibility", Netanyahu said Monday that he has "informed our friends in Washington and our friends in Moscow that we will operate in Syria, including southern Syria, in accordance with our understanding and in accordance with our security needs". An Israeli official, briefed on the situation, said the move is aimed at keeping rival factions away from each other, but would also keep Iranian-linked forces away from the Israeli side of the disputed Golan Heights.

Russian Federation never promised the United States that Iran and Iranian-backed forces would withdraw from Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday, adding that their presence in the war-torn country is legitimate.

Officials from the US National Security Council have also flown in for talks with Israeli security officials on the ceasefire agreement and Iran's growing threat to the region. However, according to Israeli media, the new ceasefire will allow such fighters to entrench themselves in areas located only five kilometers from Israel's frontier.

On Friday, the BBC, citing a Western security official, reported that Iran was setting up a permanent base on a site used by the Syrian army near el-Kiswah, 14 kilometers (8 miles) south of Damascus, and 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Israeli border.

Netanyahu: Israel Will Act In Syria As Necessary