Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly said Monday that he was concerned about Israeli airstrikes on Syrian soil.
According to Hebrew media reports, the Russian president said Israel’s security concerns must be taken into account in Syria, but added he was worried by the IDF’s periodic strikes on positions in the embattled territory.
The IDF hit two Syrian military targets across Israel’s border on the Golan Heights Sunday night in response to errant rocket fire launched from Syria.
Putin’s comment came a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from Moscow saying Russia and Israel had agreed on a mechanism to avoid military confrontations between the two countries in Syria and that the Russian president had not objected to Israeli strikes on Hezbollah weapons transfers.
Exiting his first meeting with President Barack Obama in two years on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Putin also said Russia had not ruled out joining the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, but would not send in ground troops.
“We are thinking about it. We don’t rule anything out. But if we are to act it will only be fully respecting international legal norms,” he told reporters at the United Nations in New York.
Putin said he and Obama discussed the US-led coalition’s action against IS during the “very constructive, business-like and frank” meeting.
Meanwhile, a US official said Obama and Putin have agreed to discuss a political transition in Syria, but remain at odds about what that would mean for Syrian leader Assad’s future.
The official said Obama reiterated to Putin that he does not believe there is a path to stability in Syria with Assad in power. Putin has said the world needs to support Assad because his military has the best chance to defeat Islamic State militants.
The official said Obama and Putin’s 90-minute meeting was dominated by discussions of the crises in Syria and Ukraine, with each consuming about half the discussion.
The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to publicly discuss the private meeting.
The meeting came hours after the leaders outlined their contrasting visions for Syria’s future in dueling speeches at the United Nations General Assembly summit. Obama urged a political transition to replace embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, while Putin warned it would be a mistake to abandon the current government.