US urges Russia to allow Israel to continue air strikes Syria

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Netanyahu and Putin are close allies [AFP]

The US has said it hopes Russia will allow Israel to continue air strikes in Syria, Washington's envoy said Wednesday.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes on Iranian assets in Syria, accusing Tehran of attempting to establish military bases in the war-torn country and aiding Hizballah.

"In the past Russia has been permissive in consultation with the Israelis about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria," US envoy James Jeffrey said.

The US has urged Russia to allow Israeli fighter jets to continue hitting Iranian targets in Syria.

"We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue."

Israel's strikes were halted after Syrian regime forces accidentally downed a Russian plane during an Israeli air strike over Syria in September.

Russia has blamed Israel for the downing of the plane which led to 15 Russian airmen being killed.

 

Russia then sent more advanced air defence missiles to Damascus.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has told Russia that Iran would continue to strike targets in Syria, to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence close to it.

"We understand the existential interest and we support Israel," Jeffrey said.

Under President Donald Trump, the US has moved closer to Israel and become an even more vocal ally for the country.

Trump announced that the US was withdrawing from a nuclear deal with Iran in May.

In October, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a pro-Israel group Washington would refuse any post-war reconstruction assistance to Syria if Iran continued its military presence in the country.

Syria's war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions more since starting in 2011.

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