Military Advisers Accompany Netanyahu to Moscow


JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought his military advisors with him for a one-day meeting in Moscow Monday.

In an unusual move, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevy, National Security Council head Yossi Cohen and Col. Eliezer Toledano, Netanyahu's military secretary, are accompanying him.

Much of the three-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will focus on Russia's recent military buildup in Syria, particularly at the Latakia port.

Among Israeli concerns is that Russian troops on the ground could facilitate the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Iranian proxy. Hezbollah has sent thousands of its fighters to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops.

According to one Syrian military source, Russia has provided Assad's army with advanced weapons and training.

"New weapons are being delivered and new types of weapons. The Syrian army is being trained in the use of these weapons," Reuters quoted the source.

"The weapons are highly effective and very accurate and hit targets precisely," he said, adding that Russia is supplying both air and ground weapons to the Assad regime.

From time to time, Israel carries out targeted airstrikes on convoys transporting weapons to Hezbollah or in retaliation against rocket attacks, but almost always refrains from confirming or denying responsibility.

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