Israel shoots down Syria drone; Netanyahu meets Putin

Israel shoots down Syria drone; Netanyahu meets Putin

Israel shoots down Syria drone; Netanyahu meets Putin

His remarks could foreshadow a more open approach to Assad ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Syria talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday.

The drone was an intelligence-gathering aircraft and belonged to the Syrian government and its remains have already been retrieved just south of the Sea of Galilee, nearly ten kilometers (six miles) inside Israel, an army spokesman told reporters.

Asked by a reporter if he anticipated a time when the Quneitra crossing would be reopened under the United Nations -monitored armistice between Israel and Syria, and whether the two old enemies could establish "some kind of relationship", Lieberman said: "I reckon we are a long way from that, but we are not ruling out anything".

The Israeli Air Force carried out airstrikes in Syria Wednesday night, targeting regime forces in Quneitra near the border, Syrian state media reported, hours after a Syrian drone was shot down by the military after entering Israeli airspace.

The drone flew for 16 minutes before it was intercepted.

Israel is especially concerned about Iran's military presence in Syria.

"We are prepared for the possibility of Israeli sovereignty being violated as a result of the fighting in Syria", IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis said.


On Tuesday, Netanyahu met with Russian envoys Alexander Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, in Jerusalem, reiterating again Israel's objection to an Iranian presence in Syria.

Israel worries that Assad could let his Iranian and Hezbollah allies gain a foothold near Israeli lines.

"We are still looking into why it crossed - whether it was on a military mission and crossed on objective, or it strayed", he said, while adding that the latter scenario was "not common".

Lieberman has also stepped up rhetoric against the Syrian military warning them not to enter a buffer zone in the Syrian Golan Heights established after a 1973 war with Israel. "I very much appreciate the direct, unmediated and excellent contact that I have with the Russian president".

Russian Federation is allied with Iran and has been the military backbone behind Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's slow-burning recapture of territory controlled by rebel forces during the country's seven-year-long civil war.

On June 24, Israel's military said it launched a Patriot missile at an incoming unmanned aerial vehicle, which turned away unharmed. On July 6, Israel struck a Syrian post that it said had shelled the Golan buffer zone.

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