During the phone call initiated by the Israeli side on Thursday, Putin and Netanyahu stressed the importance of boosting international efforts to tackle terrorism, the Kremlin said in a statement.
Both sides “expressed readiness to expand [cooperation] in the interest of assuring stability and security in the Middle East and, first of all, in Syria,” it said.
In particular, Putin “pointed out that it was unacceptable to make groundless accusations against anyone without conducting a detailed and unbiased investigation.”
Following the reports of the alleged attack on Tuesday, Netanyahu said that “there’s no, none, no excuse whatsoever for the deliberate attacks on civilians and on children, especially, with cruel and outlawed chemical weapons.”
The Israeli PM also urged the “international community to fulfill its obligation from 2013 to fully and finally remove these horrible weapons from Syria.”
At least 70 people, including 11 children, were reportedly killed in a suspected chemical incident in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Iblib province, Syria, on Tuesday. The US and its allies have put the blame on the Syrian government.
Earlier on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that he was sure Syrian government forces were behind the “chemical weapons attack” in Idlib.
“The two murderous chemical weapons attacks on civilians in the Idlib region in Syria and on the local hospital were carried out by direct and premeditated order of Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Syrian planes. I say this with 100 percent certainty,” Lieberman said.
The defense minister criticized the ‘international community’ for having “zero” reaction to the incident, stressing that “the world needs to take responsibility and, instead of just talking, needs to do something.”
When asked if Russia was somehow involved in the chemical weapons attack, Liberman replied “we don’t know.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said the Syrian military carried out airstrikes in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, hitting production facilities where terrorists stored chemicals, which were previously used in Iraq and the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has dismissed any accusations that the Syrian Army deployed chemical weapons in Idlib.
It’s impossible that the army – which has been making significant gains in almost all theaters of the Syrian war – would use banned chemical weapons against its “own people” and even terrorists, the minister said.
‘Israel doing everything to prevent Syria from prevailing against terrorists’
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) fired at a “Syrian military artillery position” on Saturday in response to “projectiles launched” at Israel from Syria, the IDF said on Twitter.
This attack follows five almost identical incidents in the Syrian and Israeli sections of the Golan Heights over the past week.
While no casualties have been reported on the Israeli side, two Syrian soldiers were reportedly killed by Israeli fire last Saturday.
Investigative journalist Rick Sterling says the situation could escalate, as Israel now seems to be launching cross-border strikes into Syria on an almost daily basis.
“As the Syrian army advances and slowly but surely is crushing the armed opposition, the terrorists within Syria, Israel is escalating its attacks and its intervention. It should be noted that where these projectiles are falling is actually Syrian territory; it is Israeli occupied Syria,” he told RT.
Meanwhile, the Assad government is not in the position to retaliate against Israel, the journalists said.
“They’ve got so much fighting going on within Syria. There are so many terrorists and so-called moderate rebels that are allied with Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra. They’ve got their hands full right there, and they don’t need it escalating with Israel. It is really dangerous,” he said.
“It is extremely dangerous. It is clearly a violation of Syrian sovereignty. Also, Israel is attacking Syria, even if the so-called projectiles come from the terrorist groups there. So, they’re using this as an excuse, and it has been pointed out that the terrorists can just fire some projectiles into the Israeli occupied territory and get the Israeli to come in and to attack the Syrians in alliance with terrorists,” Sterling said.
The Golan Heights has been a contested area since it was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. The journalist noted that Israel has been actively involved in the Syrian conflict “from the start supporting the terrorist campaign.”
“The former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, who was the ambassador to the US – he said explicitly they would prefer the terrorists to the Syrian government. He said: ‘We’d prefer the people we don’t like, who aren’t associated with Iran to those who are.’ Israel has a lot at stake here. They are hell-bent on preventing the Syrian government from stopping terrorism, because they would view that as basically it’s Hezbollah and Iran in alliance with Syria, which is fighting terrorism in Syria,”he said.
“As the possibility approaches of the Syrian government and their allies prevailing in the conflict, Israel is interceding to do everything they can to prevent that,” Sterling concluded.
Massoud Shadjareh, the chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, has stated that Israel’s retaliation is not justified, while also labeling the latest developments as “extremely dangerous.”
“I think it is now very clear that Israeli government and the military are actively involved against the Syrian government. Around nine months ago there were many photographs and evidence presented that Israeli armed forces and, indeed, medics were bringing these terrorists who are opposing the Syrian government into Israel and giving them medical treatment, and then sending them back. Last month [it was reported] that the Israeli government is involved in financing these rebel groups,” Shadjareh told RT.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.