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Russia, Israel Agree To Limit Iran's Presence In South Syria

05 June, 2018, 09:02 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • A map of Syria shows the various areas under the influence or control of different countries and groups. In northern Syria in Idlib is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Along the Syrian border Turkey and its allies control a corridor stretching to the Euphrates river

"Russia feels uncomfortable because the negotiations with Israel relate primarily to the elimination of Iran and its forces from southern Syria".

"We have said before that Iranian military advisers are not present in southern Syria and have not participated in recent operations", Shamkhani said. Al-Moallem said Israel is making false claims to try to pressure Iran, its archrival.

The rocket attacks have continued for two months while Israel has reportedly launched strikes on Iranian positions in Syria.

More strikes by United States ally Israel have further raised fears that the devastating seven-year war could still escalate.

Scores of Iranian soldiers have been killed in battles with insurgents in Syria, including a number of officers. In a statement carried by state news agency SANA, it said Israel's "direct confrontation ... signals the start of a new phase of the war on Syria". Both the Obama and the Trump administrations have argued that the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria is legal under the congressional authorizations to use military force against Al-Qaeda dating back to 2001.

The return of the Syrian army to Israel's northern border in return for the distancing of Iran and its Lebanon-based proxy Hezbollah from the area has been the subject of back channel discussions between Israel and Russian Federation over recent weeks. McKenzie said the U.S. troops and their local militia allies were staying in Tanf, quashing rumors of their impending withdrawal.

Al-Moallem denied reports that an agreement was reached between regional and other powers over the situation of southwestern Syria where the country's Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are located.




"I can not answer if it is being realized, but as far as I understand, the parties involved in reaching an agreement are satisfied with what they have achieved", he added.

However, asked about Nebenzia's comments al-Moallem said no agreement has been reached for southern Syria, adding that Damascus is not now involved in any negotiations over the area.

"The U.S. presence in Syria is illegitimate and they should withdraw from al-Tanf and any other area in Syria", he noted. Damascus has not engaged in talks about the south, and any agreement over that region must include the pullout of USA forces, he said. The area between the southern province of Daraa and the Golan Heights has emerged as a flashpoint in a wider standoff between Israel and Iran, and the United States has warned it will take action to protect a cease-fire there.

"We have a limited presence in Syria at the official request of its legitimate government to provide the country with advisory aid in fighting terrorism", said Shamkhani.

Currently, rebels control stretches along the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, while Syrian Army troops and allied Iran-backed militias hold nearby territory.

As news of the deal between Russian Federation and Israel broke, London-based Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Moscow and Tel Aviv agreed to "limit" Iran's military presence in southwestern Syria.

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