World News

Israel gives lukewarm welcome to post-war Syria 'principles'

Israel gives lukewarm welcome to post-war Syria 'principles'

On Monday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will not be bound by the deal, which would somewhat distance Iranian proxies from the border with Israel.

Those reports were based on a joint presidential statement issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump which stated that the two leaders had reached a Memorandum of Principles on "the reduction, and ultimate elimination, of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area".

A U.S. State Department official said Russian Federation had agreed "to work with the Syrian regime to remove Iranian-backed forces a defined distance" from the Golan Heights frontier with Israel, which captured the plateau in the 1967 Middle East war. The regime has built dozens of settlements in the area ever since and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government.

Israeli media quoted a U.S. official as saying that all non-Syrian fighters, including Iranian sponsored forces, would be expelled from the area near Israel's border and eventually from all of Syria.

Back in April 2015, Netanyahu officially admitted for the first time that the regime's military had conducted strikes in the Syrian territory.

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Israel media published on Monday that IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot traveled secretly to Brussels and convened with US General Curtis Scaparrotti to discuss Iranian acts in the Middle East, generally, and Syria, specifically.

Israel has long accused Iran, its main enemy, of taking advantage of Syria's civil war to send its Revolutionary Guard and its Lebanese Shiite ally Hezbollah into southern Syria, close to the border with the Jewish state.

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told reporters Sunday that the agreement "does not meet Israel's unequivocal demand that there will not be developments that bring the forces of Hezbollah or Iran to the Israel-Syria border in the north".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd L) attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem November 12, 2017. If we speak of pro-Iranian forces, probably, someone would like to call nearly the whole Syria pro-Iranian.

"If this works, this is an auspicious signal, would be an auspicious signal, that our policy objective - the objective that I think so many of us share, of getting these guys out of Syria ultimately - that there's a path in that direction", the official said.


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