Report: Israel Urges Russia to Keep Iran Out of Golan Heights
Israel urged Russia on Tuesday to prevent an Iranian presence on its northern border with Syria, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
According to the report, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Zvi Heifetz, met with Valentina Matviyenko, chair of the Federation Council — the upper house of the Russian parliament — to express concern about Iran’s growing stronghold in Syria.
Nrg said that Russian news agency Interfax reported that Heifetz told Matviyenko, “We certainly understand the steps Russia has been taking in Syria, but we would like to avoid a situation in which Iran is present on the Golan Heights. We are interested in preventing the possibility of Iran committing hostile acts against Israel from Syrian territory. We also would not like Russian weapons to reach Iran via Syria. Nor should arms be allowed to flow into Lebanon.”
Matviyenko confirmed to Interfax that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is set to visit Moscow in the near future, saying, “I am hopeful this visit will indeed take place.” She added that during her last trip to Israel, she also invited Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to visit Russia, where he would be treated to tours in places outside of Moscow, as well as in the capital.
This report comes on the heels of a US-Russia-brokered ceasefire in Syria, which went into effect on February 27. The Russian government declared Monday night that it has been refraining from shelling sites held by “moderate rebels,” claiming that during the preceding 24 hours, there were 15 breaches of the ceasefire. Meanwhile, ISIS has not agreed to honor the truce, according to nrg. In addition, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon accused Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces of using chemical weapons against civilians, even during the ceasefire, the Jerusalem Post reported, a claim Syria denied.