JERUSALEM—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s strong objection Wednesday to an ongoing Iranian military presence in Syria following the end of that country’s civil war.
In a half-hour phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu also wrote on Twitter that he also reviewed Israel’s security needs.
Netanyahu said little about the conversation, but the Kremlin’s press service said in a release that the leaders discussed a range of international issues, including the situation in Syria. Russia Today cited the Kremlin statement as saying “a substantive exchange of views was held on the prospects for the development of the situation in the Middle East region, primarily in the context of the final stage of the fight against international terrorism in Syria,” and added that Putin and Netanyahu agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation, particularly via the special services.
The phone conversation followed an unexpected visit by Syrian President Assad to the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, where the Russian president indicated that Assad would continue to enjoy Russian support in the aftermath of the war. That session was a lead-up to Wednesday’s tripartite summit between Turkey, Russia and Iran to discuss the post-war era in Syria.
Iran and Russia have been the main supporters of the Assad regime, while Turkey has supported opposition forces.