Putin and Netanyahu speak by phone on Syria

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday and urged him to do nothing to destabilize Syria.

Netanyahu told Putin that Israel would press a campaign to prevent Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria, his office said.

Syria, Iran and Russia say Israel was behind an air strike on a Syrian air base on Monday that killed seven Iranian military personnel, something Israel has neither confirmed nor denied.

In the telephone call, Putin told Netanyahu that it was important to respect Syria’s sovereignty, according to a statement on the Kremlin’s web site.

In its statement on the conversation, Netanyahu’s office said: “The prime minister reiterated that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria.”

Writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Robin Pomeroy