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December 1, 2015 2:05 pm

Report: Israel Seeking to Extend Cooperation With Russia in Syria to Include Ground-Based Operations

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the climate conference in Paris this week. Photo: Facebook.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a climate conference in Paris this week. Photo: Facebook.

The Israeli defense establishment has conveyed messages to Russian officials in an effort to establish coordination of ground based operations in Syria, and to bolster the aerial, naval and electromagnetic cooperation already underway, Israeli news website Walla reported on Tuesday.

The request, which was neither confirmed nor denied by defense officials — comes amid reported Israeli efforts to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon via Syria.

According to Walla, after Russia began its military operations in Syria against anti-Assad-regime rebels and terrorist groups, Israeli officials traveled to Moscow to spell out their country’s red lines on the transfer of “game-changing weapons” to Hezbollah, and assert that there would be no compromises on the matter. Jerusalem and Moscow then established a joint mechanism to coordinate the activities of their respective air forces in Syria, to prevent accidental clashes.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed the importance of cooperation with Russia in relation to military operations within Syria. His comments were made during a meeting with Russia’s President Putin on the sidelines of the World Climate Change Conference near Paris.

Days previously, a senior Israeli defense official publicly noted that while Russian jets sometimes breach Israeli airspace, close cooperation ensures that the planes are not inadvertently targeted by the Jewish state.

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