Netanyahu in Russia: Syria won’t become a launch pad against us

On last day of Russia visit, Netanyahu addresses Russian Jewish community on Syria, Iran and Russian-Israeli relations

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Speaking to Jewish leaders in Russia on the last day of his two-day visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu answered questions and addressed Israel-Russia relations, Syria, Syrian refugees and Iran. Netanyahu spoke during a press conference following an event before returning to Israel.

When asked on the future of relations with Syria’s President, Netanyahu answered “You ask about the future of relations with President Assad? I would ask what is the future of President Assad in general?” adding that “We’re making sure that Syria doesn’t become a launch pad for attacks against Israel. Not by the Assad regime, not by Hezbollah, and not by Islamist groups. We have enough enemies. My policy is to take every step necessary to prevent attacks. We act from time to time as is needed.”

He spoke of his meeting with President Putin, speaking of the military coordination between Russia and Israel and political and military developments in the Middle East. He stated that “The countries around us, Syria among them, some of them have already split apart, and therefore a different arrangement is needed. I spoke with President Putin about this at length, and the important thing is that what replaces them doesn’t bring more tragedies and does not endanger our countries… We discussed the future of coordination between our militaries in the region, which has worked very well in preventing confrontations and in ensuring that we work against the same elements that endanger us all.”

Just hours after reports were released on an Israel Air Force airstrike on a Hezbollah weapons cache in Syria over the weekend, Netanyahu stated “There are enough enemies. My policy is to take all necessary steps to prevent attacks, and we act from time to time when the need arises.”

Netanyahu spoke of the Syrian refugee crisis and Israel’s field hospital on the border constructed by the IDF in March of 2013 to aid and treat injured Syrians seeking assistance from the Jewish State. He stated “I gave the order to construct a field hospital which has helped thousands of Syrians; babies, women, children, me, all with terrible injuries. We treat them there and in our hospitals.”