Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday to voice opposition to what the Israeli leader charged were Iran’s attempts to establish a permanent military foothold in Syria.

“In the framework of a (future peace agreement) or without one, Iran is attempting to base itself permanently in Syria – either through a military presence on the ground or a naval presence – and also through a gradual attempt to open a front against us on the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu told his cabinet in public remarks on Sunday.

“I will express to President Putin Israel’s vigorous opposition to this possibility,” he said.

Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy, has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s staunchest backer and has provided militia fighters to help him.

Russia, also Assad’s ally, is seen as holding the balance of power in achieving a deal on Syria’s future. In Geneva on Friday, the first U.N.-led Syria peace talks in a year ended without a breakthrough.

 

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