Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the possibility of a pardon for Naama Issachar during a phone conversation on Monday, Kremlin aid Yuri Ushakov said. Putin phoned Netanyahu to extend birthday greetings, as Netanyahu turned 70 on Monday. While the official Kremlin readout of the phone conversation only said that the two men “discussed current bilateral topics and Syria,” Ushakov – speaking to reporters at a briefing in Moscow – said the question of a presidential pardon “was touched upon in one way or another.” He provided no other details. Netanyahu, in a brief statement his office put out about the phone call, said that he again raised the issue of a presidential pardon. Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin last week formally requested a pardon for Issachar from Putin. Issachar was arrested in April with 9.5 grams of cannabis in her checked luggage in Russia, and was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison, widely viewed as a disproportionate sentence and an attempt to have Russian hacker Alexei Burkov, arrested in Israel in 2015, returned to Russia rather than extradited to the US for suspected cybercrimes. Netanyahu’s talks with Putin about Syria come as Russia has stepped into the vacuum left by US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria, reaching a deal with Syria to move troops into Kurdish held areas to hold off a Turkish offensive. The conversation also comes just a day before Putin will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi to discuss the situation in Syria. According to the Kremlin statement, Putin had high praise for Netanyahu on the occasion of his birthday. “You are, by right, highly respected by your compatriots and by people outside Israel,” Putin told Netanyahu. “We in Russia know you as a firm proponent of strengthening friendly ties between our countries, and respect you for making a huge personal contribution to the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in a variety of fields.” Reuters contributed to this report.