IDF chief in Washington to meet senior US defense officials
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IDF chief in Washington to meet senior US defense officials

Gadi Eisenkot, American counterparts likely to discuss latest offensive by Syrian regime on rebel-held areas near Israel's border

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford meets with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot in his office in army headquarters in Tel Aviv on March 3, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Illustrative: US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford meets with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot in his office in army headquarters in Tel Aviv on March 3, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot landed in the United States for a work visit in the American capital on Thursday night, the army said.

During his stay, Eisenkot will meet with US military and defense officials to discuss “military cooperation in the face of significant defense challenges in the different regions of the Middle East,” the army said in a statement.

During Eisenkot’s stay in Washington, DC, he will be the guest of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford.

The talks are expected to focus on the renewed fighting in southwest Syria, where Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s forces, aided by Russia, have begun a massive offensive against the rebel groups in the Daraa province, which threatens to drive tens of thousands of residents fleeing to the Israeli and Jordanian borders for refuge.

In addition, the generals are likely to discuss Iranian military entrenchment in the region, especially as part of the Daraa campaign, which could put the Islamic Republic’s forces and its proxies close to Israel’s borders, something Jerusalem sees as unacceptable.

While Eisenkot is away, he will be replaced by IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, the army said.

Per army protocol, the military would not say when the IDF chief was due to return from Washington.

Eisenkot last made a work visit to Washington in October 2017, when he took part in the second annual conference of chiefs of staff, which was organized by Dunford.

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