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Netanyahu Tells Putin That Israel Still Targeting Iran Assets In Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 11.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel will continue to target Iranian military assets in Syria.

The prime minister’s office on July 20 wrote on Twitter that the Israeli leader told Putin during a phone converstaion that "Israel would continue to act against the establishment of an Iranian military presence in Syria."

Israel has repeatedly warned Iran not to beef up its military presence in Syria and has staged several deadly air strikes against what it said were Iranian and Hizballah positions and facilities in Syria.

Netanyahu on July 11 said he told Putin during a Kremlin meeting that he should encourage Iranian forces to leave Syria.

Putin has tried to maintain close relations with Iran and Syria, even while trying to develop closer ties with Netanyahu and Israel.

The Netanyahu-Putin call came four days after the Russian leader met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki.

Trump said at a news conference following the summit that Syria and the security of Israel were among the many topics he and Putin had discussed.

The U.S. president on July 19 said on Twitter that he was looking forward to a second meeting with Putin to implement "some of the many things discussed, for Israel," although no details were announced.

Iran and Russia back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's seven-year-long civil war, while the United States backs rebels fighting against Assad's rule.