Netanyahu: IDF to continue anti-Iran strikes in Syria, despite S-300

The IDF will continue to strike at Iranian target in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after Russia announced plans to transfer to Syria an advanced anti-missile system known as the S-300.

“Israel has been very successful in the last three years in preventing Iran‘s military buildup in Syria as well as its attempts to deliver lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” Netanyahu said.

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He spoke before departing for New York where he plans to meet with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the General Assembly, for what will be their fifth, face-to-face encounter.

Russian plans with regard to the S-300, which the US also opposes, will be an important part of that conversation. Israel fears that the S-300, will make it more difficult for the IDF to execute air raids against Iranian targets.

The decision to transfer the S-300 comes after a Russian war plane was shot down in Syria on September 17, leading to the loss of 15 Russian military personnel. Russia has blamed Israel, while Israel in turn has accused Syria and Iran of downing the plane.

Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone on Monday night and agreed to continue their security coordination in Syria.

“Since the tragic events in the Syrian skies, I have spoken twice with President Putin, expressing deep sorrow about the loss of lives of the Russia crew on the plane, that was irresponsibly shot down by Syrian fire,” Netanyahu said.

On Tuesday morning Netanyahu held a special security cabinet meeting and brief the ministers on events with Syria, Russia and Iran.

The cabinet ministers also expressed sorrow over the loss of Russian lives, Netanyahu said.

“We will continue to act to prevent the Iranian military build up in Syria and to continue with the security coordination between the IDF and the Russian army,” Netanyahu said.

He added that he and Putin had agreed that representatives from the Israeli and Russian armies would meet soon to discuss continued coordination in Syria.

“We will do what is necessary to defend Israel‘s security,” Netanyahu said.

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