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Netanyahu Flies To Moscow To Discuss Syria With Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and his wife Sara Netanyahu attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, February 27, 2019

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow Thursday morning, April 4 to meet with the Russian president Vladimir Putin, mainly to discuss Syria related issues.

On Monday, Netanyahu’s office had announced the trip, which comes weeks before Israeli elections. Netanyahu who just returned from a trip to Washington, which secured U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, could win more points from his Moscow trip before the elections.

Israel has been asking Russia to help control and reduce Iranian military activities in Syria, and has repeatedly warned it will not tolerate if Tehran entrenches itself next to Israeli territory.

Israeli media also link Netanyahu’s trip to possible Russian help in recovering the body of an Israeli soldier who disappeared in 1982 tank battle with Syrian forces, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

Maariv reports that the Israeli coordinator for POWs and MIAs, Yaron Blum was seen on the flight to Moscow Thursday morning, which could be a sign of gratitude by Israel. The Jerusalem Post points out that in September Russia claimed its military was working with Israel to help locate remains of Israeli soldiers in Syrian territory.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said at the time that Israel had asked Moscow’s help in this regard and Russia had agreed with Syria to search and find the bodies of Israeli soldiers.

Before he left for Moscow, Netanyahu reiterated that Syria and continued coordination between Israeli Defense Forces and Russian army will be discussed with Putin.