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Netanyahu To Voice Opposition To Iran’s Influence In Syria In Meeting With Putin

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on March 9 to express his opposition to what he described as Iran's attempts to establish a permanent foothold in Syria.

"Iran is trying to establish itself permanently in Syria, with a military presence on the ground and at sea, and also a gradual attempt to open a front against us on the Golan Heights," Netanyahu said on March 5.

Netanyahu said he would state "Israel's sharp and vigorous opposition to this possibility" at the meeting with Putin.

Iran has been a major backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, providing him with military and financial support.

Russia, also a key Syria backer, has conducted military air strikes in support of Assad.

Israeli officials have warned against Iran's growing influence in the region.

Putin and Netanyahu last met in June 2016, when Putin called Israel a "key country" for the Middle East.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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