Israel PM in Russia Next Week for Syria Talks with Putin

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Russia next week for talks with President Vladimir Putin on Moscow's military support for the Damascus regime and "threats" facing Israel, his office said Wednesday.

Netanyahu will speak about "the deployment of Russian military forces in Syria," a statement said.

"He will describe the threats to Israel following the military reinforcement in the Syrian arena and the supply of weapons to Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the meeting, telling Russia's RIA Novosti news agency "a short working visit and talks with Vladimir Putin will take place on Monday."

Israel opposes President Bashar Assad's regime, but has sought to avoid being dragged into the conflict in neighboring Syria. 

It also fears Iran could increase its support for Hizbullah and other militant groups as international sanctions are gradually lifted under a July nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Lebanon's Hizbullah, with which Israel fought a devastating 2006 war, is a staunch ally of Assad and has sent fighters to support his forces.

Putin pledged Tuesday to continue military support for Assad after Washington sounded the alarm over an apparent military build-up by Moscow in Syria.

U.S. military officials said Monday that Russia appeared to be establishing a forward air base in Syria and had sent tanks and artillery to defend it.

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