Israeli newspaper: Russia and Israel's common goal is to get Iran out of Syria

Israeli newspaper: Russia and Israel's common goal is to get Iran out of Syria

The Israeli journalist and writer Anna Ahronheim highlighted what she considered a different approach and a common goal for Israel and Russia, which has become the expulsion of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria, coinciding with the efforts of several Arab capitals to re-accept the Assad regime in the Arab world.

Israeli journalist and writer Anna Aharonheim sheds light on what she considered a different approach and a common goal for Israel and Russia, which is the expulsion of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria.

In conjunction with the recent readmission by several Arab countries of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the exchange of visits and the restoration of diplomatic representation with him, Israel and Russia are seeking to expel Iran and its proxy "Hezbollah" from the country that has endured a decade of painful war.

In the author's view, Israel is now working on the difficult task of defusing Tehran's ambitions for regional hegemony and establishing a forward base against the Jewish state for nearly a decade by launching hundreds of air strikes in Syria.

More recently, Tel Aviv has been accused of using a surface-to-surface missile to strike Iranian targets outside Damascus in a rare daytime attack. That strike came at a time when Russia was accused of hitting about 20 opposition targets in Idlib province.

Israel does not comment on most of the alleged strikes, but it has also been accused of carrying out several strikes inside Syrian territory, including around the capital Damascus, the north of the country near the Syrian-Turkish border and the Albu Kamal area near the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Russia intervened in the Syrian conflict in September 2015 on the side of Assad, and Moscow is seen as the main power to talk to when Israel wants to carry out strikes in the country, according to Aharonheim.

Russia has allowed Israel to maintain its freedom to operate over Syria, as long as it does not endanger Russian forces. A senior Israeli Air Force officer recently stated that his forces "have the freedom to act on Syria."

A warm meeting and an agreement to expel Iran
This past October, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian city of Sochi, their first meeting since Bennett took office.

According to Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing Ze'ev Elkin, who acted as a translator during the Russian and Israeli leaders' meeting, their meeting went exceptionally warm, and they agreed to continue Israel's policy toward Syria, including air strikes.

The senior Israeli Air Force officer said he had not been updated on the meeting between Bennett and Putin, but that "it is likely that this is where the leaders agreed to work to get Iran out of Syria."

Israel realizes that while the United States remains its strongest ally, Russia is the main influence in the Middle East, and Assad will listen to Moscow when he wants to gain anything from the outside world, according to the article published in the Jerusalem Post.

A larger international effort is currently underway to reach a settlement in Syria that would allow the war-torn country to begin rebuilding. Moscow understands that this means expelling all foreign forces, especially Iran and its proxies Hezbollah and other Shiite militias.

For the first time since the outbreak of the civil war more than a decade ago, Arab countries , including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman, agreed to reopen their embassies with the Syrian regime, while Jordan reopened its border crossing with Syria.

The Israeli writer considered that "extracting Iran from the region is a focus of the Israeli army," and that it is a matter of life or death for Tel Aviv, and for Russia, it is "a matter of prestige and sole influence over Assad."

Aharonheim ended her article by asking, "Does Assad listen to Putin and choose Russian influence over Tehran? Or will he decide to stay in Iran's camp and allow the Islamic Republic to further entrench its forces and weapons for a future war with Israel?"
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