Netanyahu meets US envoy over Syria, Iran, regional stability
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Netanyahu meets US envoy over Syria, Iran, regional stability

Talks with James Jeffrey center on ‘maintaining Israel’s security,’ while countering Iranian influence in the region

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Special Representative for Syrian Affairs James Jeffrey in Jerusalem on September 2, 2018 (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Special Representative for Syrian Affairs James Jeffrey in Jerusalem on September 2, 2018 (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Sunday with a US envoy for Syria for talks on the war-ravaged country and Iran, his office said.

Netanyahu discussed “the situation in Syria and the joint effort to stop Iran’s terror and aggression” with James Jeffrey, the US special representative for Syria engagement, said a statement.

Ahead of the visit, the US State Department said Jeffrey, accompanied by US special envoy for Syria Joel Rayburn, would discuss “maintaining Israel’s security while countering Iran’s destabilizing activity throughout the region.”

Jeffrey and Rayburn would travel on to Jordan and Turkey, where they would reiterate the US position against a military offensive in Idlib, the State Department said.

The two “will also address Russia’s specious allegations of international plans to stage a chemical weapons attack in Syria” in their meetings across the region, according to the State Department.

James Jeffrey, from the US State Department, in Washington, March 3, 2006. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Iran is backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s civil war, along with Russia and Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the conflict, but acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes in Syria to stop what it says are deliveries of advanced weaponry to its Lebanese enemy Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran.

It has also pledged to prevent its arch foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, and a series of strikes that have killed Iranians in Syria have been attributed to Israel.

Overnight Saturday, a string of explosions at a military airport near the Syrian capital reportedly killed two regime fighters and injured 11 others.

The Lebanese al-Meyadeen news outlet, seen as closely linked to the Syrian regime, claimed that the explosions were the result of an Israeli missile strike.

While Syria confirmed the explosions at Mazzeh, state media initially said they were caused by a short circuit and not “Israeli aggression.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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