Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kremlin

Russia and Israel will set up a working group which will include additional, possibly the US, to discuss removing all foreign forces from Syria, Israeli and Russian media reported Wednesday, citing a high-ranking source in the Netanyahu cabinet who spoke to reporters following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow.

“It was decided to set up a working group with participation of Russia, Israel and several other countries to work on the issue of removing foreign forces from Syria,” the source said, but did not offer additional information nor named who else would be part of the working group. It is not clear whether the US administration supports the idea, but such participation is to be expected, according to Israeli media.

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Netanyahu’s Wednesday’s visit to Moscow was his first after September 17 2019, when a Russian army Ilyushin Il-20 was downed near the Syrian coast, with 15 Russian servicemen who were on-board killed.

The foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War encompasses political, military and operational support to parties involved in the ongoing conflict in Syria that began in March 2011, as well as active foreign involvement. The Syrian government is politically and militarily supported by Iran and Russia, and actively supported by Hezbollah and the Palestinian group PFLP-GC. Turkish forces have been positioned in Syria in late 2015. The US forces are due to withdraw from Syria over the next few months. There is also French and British military presence in Syria, which is chiefly involved in the war against ISIS.

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