How Israel and Russia forged an unlikely partnership in Syria

At the same time, Israel allegedly attacked On Saturday, at an Iranian weapons storage facility near Damascus, Russian warplanes attacked Syrian opposition militants near the city of Aleppo.
These actions also took place just a week after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on the first official visit between the two leaders.

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi last month

(Photo: AP)

If this is not the definition of strategic coordination, what is it?

In recent months, according to Syrian opposition forces, Israel has intensified its military operations in Syria. While 2020 saw some 400 missiles allegedly fired by Israel at its northwestern neighbor, last year it saw a 25% increase, and this is only November.

Iranian activity in Syria has also changed a lot. The overall presence of Iran’s advisers in Syria has started to decline as early as 2020, and the number of Iranian fighters decreased by 50%.

However, the quantity and quality of weapons and supplies that Tehran sends to Syria have increased.

Meanwhile, Israel’s strategy remains the same: thwart Iran’s efforts to further entrench itself in Syria.

But when the pace and ferocity of the attacks increases, Israel risks this cold war heating up. So why is Israel continuing with this strategy and even intensifying its activity?

The real change in recent months has not been with Israel or Iran, but with Russian policy towards Syria.

It is no coincidence that Putin met with Bennett last weekend. Moscow realized that in order to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and ensure its continued control in the region, they must begin to pull Syria out of diplomatic isolation and step up rehabilitation efforts.

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Russian military police forces patrol an area in Qamishli, northern Syria, on October 26, 2019 Russian military police forces patrol an area in Qamishli, northern Syria, on October 26, 2019

Russian military police forces patrol an area in Qamishli, northern Syria, on October 26, 2019

(Photo: EPA)

Four days before Bennett’s arrival in Sochi, the Russians organized the first face-to-face meeting between the government and opposition forces in Syria to discuss a UN-backed reform of the Syrian constitution.

The meeting did not take place due to the kind-hearted generosity of Damascus. In exchange for the preliminary summit, the Gulf states of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman agreed to reopen their embassies in Syria.

Jordan reopened its southern border crossings, and its ally the United States, which still applies sanctions against Assad and his government, did not oppose the move.

Moscow is pressuring Damascus to change its behavior in order to further open the country to the rest of the world, and the weakening of Iran’s presence in Syria is a key part of that.

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Vladimir Putin Bashar Assad in the Kremlin Kremlin Moscow RussiaVladimir Putin Bashar Assad in the Kremlin Kremlin Moscow Russia

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier this year.

(Photo: AP)

This is where Russia and Israel share a common goal.

There are also reports that Assad has grown weary of his alliance with Tehran, which he believes is hampering rehabilitation efforts in Syria.

Israel is not only pressuring Iran, but also Assad, to understand what his next step should be.

This is how Israel and Russia are on the same page, at least until the Russians decide otherwise.



Reference-www.ynetnews.com

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