Israeli military says it shot down a Syrian drone

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In a reminder of the volatile situation, Netanyahu pointed at an incident earlier Wednesday in which the Israeli military fired a Patriot missile to shoot down a drone that had infiltrated Israeli airspace from Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian Federation on Wednesday that Israel would not seek to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but that Moscow, his key ally, should encourage Iranian forces to quit Syria, a senior Israeli official said.

Since turning the tide of Syria's civil war by intervening militarily in 2015 on Assad's behalf, Russian Federation has turned a blind eye to scores of Israeli air strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah deployments or arms transfers, while making clear it wanted Assad kept immune.

Syrian military positions were targeted early on Thursday after an unmanned drone entered Israeli airspace from Syria the day before.

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Media reports suggested that at Monday's meeting in Helsinki, Putin and Trump could reach a deal that would envisage the deployment of Syrian government forces alongside the frontier with the Israeli-held side of the Golan Heights and the withdrawal of Iranian forces and their proxy Hezbollah militia from the area.

At least some of the missiles were thwarted by Syrian air defences, they said.

That position is shared by most U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, many of whom are now concerned that when President Donald Trump meets with Putin early next week, he might make some kind of deal that leaves Syria in the hands of the Russians, and their Iranian allies.

In the heaviest Israeli firing since the start of the Syrian War, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the strikes killed at least 23 military personnel, including Syrians and non-Syrians. We will not allow Iran's entrenchment in Syria and we will not allow Syrian soil to be turned into a vanguard against the State of Israel.

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Israel seized a large swathe of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

"There should be no military forces in the area of separation other than those of UNDOF", a United Nations spokesman said.

Israel has been on alert in recent weeks over fighting in the south of neighbouring Syria, warning that ceasefire lines between the two countries must be respected.

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