Israel’s prime minister is set to visit Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin about security issues stemming from Iran’s presence in neighboring Syria. Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Wednesday that his visit is “very important” for Israel’s security. Israel has been warily watching its frontier with neighboring Syria as the civil war rages. Israel and Syria are enemies but President Bashar Assad kept the border quiet for years.
The statement said Netanyahu will express “strong objection” to the Iranian presence in Syria. Iranian forces and the Shiite Hezbollah militia, both sworn enemies of Israel, are fighting on Assad’s side in Syria. Russia is a strong supporter of Assad and its entry into the war helped turn the tide of the conflict in the government’s favor.