Vladimir Putin warned Benjamin Netanyahu to back off from military strikes in Syria after an Israeli warplane was shot down in the region on Saturday.
“I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD.” Amos 1:5 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Russian leader Putin fired up the hotline over the weekend and ordered Israeli PM Netanyahu to immediately stop all airstrikes on targets in Syria. But Netanyahu replied that Israel would continue defend itself against all enemies. The United States weighed in with full support of Israel’s position being offered. Iran is instigating, Russia is posturing, and Israel is defending. And the prophecy clock continues to tick….
The Russian President told Netanyahu in a phone call on Saturday evening to avoid a course of action that could have ‘dangerous consequences for the region’.
At the time Israel had just completed a second round of bombardments against Syrian forces and what it says were Iranian installations in the country and was considering further strikes in retaliation for the loss of its jet, Haaretz reports.
But Putin, who has spent years propping up the Assad regime in the hopes of staving off American interference, put a swift end to the confrontation, it is reported.
The exchange of fire began after Israel accused Iran of flying a drone into its territory, a claim which Iran later denied. That prompted Israel jets to strike a region in Syria that Iranian forces are known to occupy, with one being shot down as it returned to Israel. Both pilots escaped, but one was badly injured.
It marked the first time an Israeli jet has been lost in combat since 1982.
Following the loss of the jet, Israel said it carried out strikes that destroyed 12 military sites, including four allegedly occupied by Iranian forces.
Netanyahu acknowledged his call with Putin on Saturday evening, saying he had told him of Israel’s intention to continue defending itself against any aggression and to prevent Iran from establishing a presence ‘in Syria or anywhere else.’
Russia’s foreign ministry said it was ‘absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian servicemen.’ Some of the targets struck by the Israeli bombardments are close to where Russian personnel are serving
Netanyahu was keen to trumpet the success of the air raids during a Sunday morning cabinet meeting, but made no mention of further strikes.
‘We inflicted on Saturday a heavy blow to Iranian and Syrian forces,’ he said. ‘We made clear to everyone that our rules of engagement will not change in any way. We will continue to harm anyone who tries to harm us. This was our policy and this will remain our policy.’
Other Israeli ministers spoke of refusing to accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in Syria, as Netanyahu has said repeatedly. Tehran denies it is doing so. Russia stressed the need to ‘avoid any measure that could lead to a dangerous escalation’.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate de-escalation.
Netanyahu spoke with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after Saturday’s confrontation. Washington backed Israel and blamed Iran for the escalation.
Tillerson on Sunday begins a Middle East tour that will take him to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait.
Netanyahu has met regularly with Putin in recent months in a bid to convince Russia to keep Iranian forces away from Israeli territory. Russia and Israel have also established a hotline to avoid accidental clashes in Syria.
Israel is technically at war with Syria and occupies a swathe of the Golan Heights that it seized in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community. source