Israel launches U.S.-backed missile shield on Syria frontier, Russia sends envoys

Israel launches U.S.-backed missile shield on Syria frontier, Russia sends envoysBy Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel launched its newest air defense system on Monday on the Syrian frontier, where Damascus’s Russian-backed forces have been routing rebels, as Moscow sent envoys for what it called “urgent” talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu planned to meet Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and its armed forces chief, General Valery Gerasimov, later in the day, a visit the Israeli leader said was arranged last week at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Israel is on high alert as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regains ground from rebels in the southwest of the country, bringing his forces close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.


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Israel warns Syrians away from frontier as Assad closes in

Israel warns Syrians away from frontier as Assad closes inBy Maayan Lubell and Tom Perry GOLAN HEIGHTS/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Dozens of Syrians approached the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to seek help or sanctuary from a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive, before turning back after a warning from Israel’s army. Tens of thousands of Syrians have thronged to the Golan in the past month, fleeing a rapidly advancing offensive which has defeated rebels across a swathe of territory near Jordan and Israel and generated pressure on both neighbors to extend aid. If you want us to be able to help you, go back,” an army officer on the Israeli side of a frontier fence, which is partly lined with minefields, told the crowd in Arabic through a megaphone.


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