TEL AVIV - The presence of Iranian troops in Syria near its border with Israel is unacceptable, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, adding that the issue was discussed with Russian and Israeli authorities.

“Iran cannot be present near the border with Israel in the Golan Heights,” Merkel said at a press conference during her visit to Jerusalem.

She noted that this topic had been discussed at a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as previously with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We also talked about the fact that Iranian troops should withdraw from Syria. We also discussed this with the Russian president,” she said.

Merkel and Netanyahu are holding a joint meeting of the governments of Israel and Germany in Jerusalem, the seventh such meeting in the history of the countries’ relationship.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday vowed to continue fighting against forward-deployed Iranian troops in Syria.

“Israel will continue doing what it takes to defend itself ... We will continue blocking Iran’s attempts to use Syria and Lebanon as its forward bases to launch attacks on Israel,” he told reporters.

Netanyahu was speaking at a joint press briefing in Jerusalem with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is taking part in the seventh meeting of their two governments.

The top Israeli official called on the international community to exercise pressure on the Islamic republic in order to put an end to Iran’s global terrorist operations and force it out of Syria.

“I think all countries should join forces in compelling Iran to fully stop its military and nuclear programs ... and its terrorist activities in Europe and around the world. Eventually, Iranian forces should fully withdraw from Syria,” he said.

Israel has been conducting air raids in Syria against what it claims are arms convoys of the Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah. The Israeli military estimates the number of air strikes over the past two years at 200.