Only Syrian army should be on country's southern border - Russian Federation

Geraldine Edwards
May 28, 2018

According to the report, Israel and Russian Federation agreed the Syrian army would be allowed to re-take control of southern Syria, up to the country's border with Israel. "We believe that there is no place for any Iranian military presence, anywhere in Syria".

Israel takes issue with any broad operation in the area, suspecting Damascus's Iranian allies of seeking to establish a military footprint closer to its borders.

Netanyahu said Iran's military presence in Syria would be a main focus of his trip next week to France and Germany, where he will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The source said that this was the first step in the process of removing Iranian-backed forces from Syria referring to increased concern since Israel's attack on the Syrian Air Force.

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"No one can force Iran to do anything", Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi said, according to the Tasnim news website.

"The result of this work which should continue and is continuing should be a situation when representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic's army stand at Syria's border with Israel", Lavrov said.

The US has also warned Assad not to move troops into the region.

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Lavrov's comments come as several Arabic-language media outlets have reported on unconfirmed claims of indirect negotiations between Israel and Iran and another unconfirmed report that the Syrian regime has proposed a deal in which Hezbollah and Iranian militias would be pulled some 25 kilometers from the border with Israel's Golan Heights.

An Iranian Air Force jet prepares for takeoff on a Syrian base. Jordan also passed the messages to Syrian and Russian officials. The regime also suggested the possibility of considering reviving the disengagement agreement between Syria and Israel from 1974, allowing for United Nations troops to monitor the demilitarized zone between the two enemy countries. Israeli officials have suggested there are circumstances in which they would not intervene, but demanded Iran ensure no Shi'ite militias take part at all.

Iran's ambassador to Jordan, Dr. Mostafa Moslehzadeh, reportedly received instructions from senior officials to conduct the negotiations with Israel in Amman.

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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". Iran's IRNA news agency said that the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that the reports about nine Iranian military officials being killed in the attack were "a sheer lie and quite baseless".

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