'Assad safe from Israel if Iran removed from Syria,' Netanyahu tells Putin

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu party in the Knesset

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu party in the Knesset

On Sunday night, Syria said its air defense repelled an Israeli sorties against the T4 air base in Homs province, where seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps personnel died in an April 9 attack that Damascus and Tehran also blamed on Israel.

A Syrian military source told the news agency that Israeli warplanes had fired several missiles.

The Israeli prime minister flew to Moscow yesterday to discuss what President Trump could offer President Putin in return for his help in pushing Iranian forces out of Syria.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu made it clear that Israel will not tolerate a military presence by Iran or its proxies anywhere in Syria and that Syria must strictly abide by the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement", the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

However, Israel's de-facto border with Syria in the Golan Heights was one of Israel's quietest borders until the civil war erupted.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

In February, Israel intercepted what it said was an armed drone sent into its territory by Iran.

The air force has struck many targets it describes as Iranian deployments or arms transfers to Iran supported Hezbollah.

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Israel seized a large swathe of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

Before departing for Russia, Netanyahu said, "I am now leaving for Moscow for a very important meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin".

But he said Moscow should encourage any Iranian forces in the area to leave.

Israel has signalled openness to eventual ties with Assad, a tacit acknowledgement that the Syrian president is re-consolidating power as he routs the country's rebels.

Under Assad family rule, Syria held direct negotiations with Israel in the United States in 2000 and indirect talks mediated by Turkey in 2008.

Netanyahu's government has made clear it would not cede the Golan now and has been lobbying for USA recognition of Israel's claim of sovereignty there.

Conricus said that after the drone was destroyed by a single Patriot missile, its remains landed near the Sea of Galilee. A Syrian commander said the drone was engaged in local operations.

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