Netanyahu to Putin: Assad's safe from us, but Iran must leave Syria

Netanyahu to Putin: Assad's safe from us, but Iran must leave Syria

Syrian state media SANA has claimed that the Syrian military air defence thwarted the missiles fired towards Quneitra province in the early hours of Thursday.

The attack near Hader village at the border of the Israeli Golan Heights caused only material damage, state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying.

Israel has threatened to open fire at any Syrian government forces that try to deploy in a demilitarised Golan buffer zone set up under a 1974 United Nations -monitored armistice.

Israel fired a Patriot missile at an unmanned drone that entered its airspace from Syria on Wednesday, the military said, warning it would not tolerate such infiltrations, which have occurred several times over the past year.

Israel has been on high alert as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces advance against rebels near the Golan and Jordan.

He added that Israel expects Syria to strictly observe a 1974 deal that set out a demilitarized zone along their frontier and limited the number of forces each side can deploy within 25 kilometers (15 miles) of the zone.

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On Tuesday, Netanyahu met with Russian envoys Alexander Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, in Jerusalem, reiterating again Israel's objection to an Iranian presence in Syria.

"We won't take action against the Assad regime, and you get the Iranians out", the official, who requested anonymity, quoted Netanyahu as telling Russia's Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Moscow, according to Reuters news agency.

Russian Federation is Assad's big-power backer in the seven-year-old civil war. Its air force has struck scores of targets it describes as Iranian deployments or arms transfers to Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah.

This meeting comes a week before Putin will meet President Trump, and Netanyahu may try to use his close ties to Trump as an advantage in the Wednesday talks. "I very much appreciate the direct, unmediated and excellent contact that I have with the Russian president". Netanyahu's government has made clear it would not now cede the Golan and has been lobbying for USA recognition of Israel's claim of sovereignty there.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Israeli army said the downed drone may have been on an intelligence mission.

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