TEL AVIV, Jan 29: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting on Tuesday with Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin in Jerusalem, and the sides discussed situation in Syria, Iran's activity in the conflict torn state and security coordination mechanism between Israeli and Russian military, Netanyahu's press service said.
"Among the issues discussed were Iran and the situation in Syria, and strengthening the security coordination mechanism between the militaries in order to prevent friction. The Russian representatives reiterated Russia's commitment to the maintenance of Israel's national security," the press service said in a statement published on Twitter.
Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and the head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operations directorate, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva also attended the meeting.
Israel traditionally views Iran as its main opponent in the Middle East region and is concerned over the presence of Iranian military instructors as well as the Hezbollah Shia movement, backed by Tehran, in neighboring Syria.
Moscow-Tel Aviv relations were put to test following the fatal crash of the Russian Il-20 plane in September 2018 that the Russian Defense Ministry holds the Israeli Air Force responsible for. The plane was downed on September 17 by a missile launched by Syria's air defense system targeting Israeli F-16 jets that were carrying out airstrikes in Syrian Latakia province. The incident claimed the lives of 15 Russian servicemen.
Since that time, Russia and Israel have repeatedly discussed on different levels the operation of the bilateral communications channel between the Russian Hmeimim airbase in Syria and the Israeli Air Force to prevent incidents. (UNI-SPUTNIK)