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Russia expects to continue cooperation with Israel on Syria — Lavrov

The top diplomat says Russia expects that coordination with Israel on Syria will continue

MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Russia expects that coordination with Israel on Syria will continue in order to ensure the safety of the Russian military in Syria and security of Jewish state, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said as he met with Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel Isaac Herzog in Moscow on Monday.

"We expect that cooperation with Israel on Syria will continue in the way that will not jeopardize the lives of Russian military, will not create problems for effort of President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad in fight against terrorism with our support, and will of course ensure security of Israel," the senior Russian diplomat said.

On Wednesday, Russian and Israeli military officials discussed in Moscow a direct communication channel between the Russian Hmeymim airbase and the Israeli Air Force Command Center to prevent dangerous incidents posing a threat to the lives of Russian and Israeli military servicemen. Russia was represented at the talks by Deputy Head of the Russian General Staff's Main Operations Directorate Major General Vasily Trushin, while the Israeli delegation was led by chief of the Israel Defense Forces Operations Directorate Major General Aharon Haliva.

On September 17, Russia’s Ilyushin Il-20 surveillance plane was downed over the Mediterranean Sea when it was flying back to the Russian-operated airbase at Syria’s Hmeymim. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the plane was shot down by a missile from a Syrian S-200 air defense system when it was firing at four Israeli F-16 aircraft attacking targets in the Latakia governorate. The Israeli pilots actually hid behind the Russian plane exposing it to Syrian missiles, the ministry stressed. The Russian Defense Ministry stressed that Israel bore full responsibility for the incident, which claimed the lives of 15 Russian military servicemen.