Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the 104th Guard Air Assault Regiment of the 76th Guard Air Assault Division in Pskov on March 1, 2013. (Photo: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Report: Putin Curbing Israeli Strikes in Syria

According to Arab media, Russian President Vladimir Putin over the past few weeks has prevented numerous Israeli strikes in Syria that would have targeted regime installations. The report claimed that Putin went so far as to warn Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that if the attacks proceeded then Israeli jets would be shot down, by either Russian fighter planes or S-400 anti-aircraft missiles. Analysts believe the development prompted Netanyahu to travel to Sochi last Thursday in a bid to persuade Moscow to continue turning a blind eye to Israel’s military operations in Syria. However, Russian and Israeli sources described the meeting as a “failure,” emphasizing that Putin told Netanyahu that Syrian assets were off limits due to Russia’s ongoing support for Bashar al-Assad. Notably, Iran often harbors Hizbullah terrorists and Shiite mercenaries at Syrian bases, and has also used them as conduits for smuggling advanced weaponry into neighboring Lebanon.

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