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Netanyahu (L) and Putin in Moscow. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russia wants to push Iranian forces, Hezbollah and Pro-Iranian Shiite militias 65 miles from the Syrian-Israeli border in the Golan Heights, a senior Israeli official said after a meeting today in Jerusalem between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

Why it matters: President Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed the security situation in southwest Syria last week in Helsinki, and Israel coordinated closely with both the U.S. and Russia before the summit. The Russians are helping the Assad regime to regain control over territory close to Israel and Jordan, but want to prevent an armed clash between Israel and Syria.

Netanyahu spoke to Trump two days before the summit and with Putin last Friday.

  • Netanyahu and Putin agreed that Lavrov and Russian army Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov would arrive in Israel today for more talks on Syria.
  • Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff General Gadi Aizenkot met with the Russia delegation for more than two hours and presented them with maps and intelligence regarding the Iranian presence in the areas close to the border with Israel and in the rest of Syria.

The senior Israeli official said in a conference call with reporters that Israel's goal is to get all Iranian and pro-Iranian forces out of the entire Syrian territory, but the Russians want, in the first phase, to push the Iranians 65 miles from the Israeli border.

"This is fine, but eventually we need to get the Iranians from Syria completely. Netanyahu told Lavrov that Israel will not accept Iranian military entrenchment — not in the areas near the border with Israel and not in the rest of Syria."
— Senior Israeli official

According to the Israeli official, Netanyahu gave Lavrov a list of demands regarding Iranian military presence in Syria:

  • Iran needs to take all of its long range missiles and weapons out of Syria.
  • Iran needs to stop the production of precision munitions in Syria.
  • Iran needs to take all its air defense systems out of Syria.
  • The border crossings between Syria and Lebanon needs to be monitored to prevent arms smuggling to Hezbollah from Syria.
  • The border crossings between Iraq and Syria needs to be monitored to prevent infiltration of Shiite militias into Syria from Iraq.

The Israeli official added: "Netanyahu told Lavrov Israel will maintain freedom of operation against Iranian entrenchment in all of Syria and will see Assad responsible for any Iranian aggression against Israel from Syrian territory because Assad is the one hosting the Iranians".

Go deeper

Updated 2 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas "alternate" Trump electors

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) addresses the media after a House Jan. 6 select committee hearing in July 2021. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Friday announced subpoenas for more than a dozen people who led groups of "alternate electors" for former President Trump.

Why it matters: Slates of fake electors organized by pro-Trump forces in the wake of the 2020 election have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks around the one-year anniversary of the attack.

Swastikas found outside Union Station in D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.