Published: Tue, May 29, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Israel, Russia Reach 'Understanding' on Iranian Presence in Syria

Israel, Russia Reach 'Understanding' on Iranian Presence in Syria

"When you consider the advanced weapon systems - surface to surface missiles and anti aircraft systems - that the Iranians want to deploy in Syria, it becomes clear that they must be prevented from doing so in all of Syria and not only within a limited distance from the Israeli border", Chagai Tzuriel, director-general of the intelligence ministry, told Reuters.

"Of course, the withdrawal of all non-Syrian forces must be carried out on a mutual basis, this should be a two-way street", Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference in on Monday.

His European tour follows the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal which the European signatories, France, Germany and Britain, have said they will stick to.

The area has been held under a ceasefire, but has recently been tense following a series of recent Israeli strikes on Syrian and Iranian forces.

Following Lavrov's statement, the Israeli PM asserted that there is no place for Iran's military forces in Syria.

"The result of the ongoing work should be a situation in which troops of the Syrian Armed Forces will be stationed alongside the Syrian border with Israel", he said.

The Russian minister also touched on the U.S. military camp at al-Tanf on the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border, which has been criticized repeatedly by Moscow.

The reports of an imminent operation in the de-escalation zone have anxious the United States, which warned on Friday that would it would take "firm and appropriate measures" in response to ceasefire violations.

Sources briefed on the trip told Israel's Channel 10 reporter Barak Ravid that the two officials will be ratifying an existing agreement between Israel and the USA on how to deal with Iran.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton will reportedly meet with his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabat, in Washington on Tuesday to discuss a joint approach to Iran.

Israel has made it clear that it will not intervene in the battles in the tri-border area, as long as Hezbollah and the Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias are not involved.

Elaph sources said that "the talks with the Israelis were related to fighting in Syria and the nearing campaign in southern Syria, particularly in Daraa and Kuneitra". According to the report, the Assad regime has been in a "panic following recent Israeli attacks".

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