Iranian Presence in Syria Is Legitimate, Russia Says Amid Israeli Concerns

Jerome Frank
November 16, 2017

"While the U.S. [with Russia] has made the south-west de-escalation zone a priority in its Syria policy, it has no realistic means of actually rolling back Iranian influence across the border", said Mr Schneider.

The move, according to one Israeli official briefed on the arrangement, is meant to keep rival factions inside Syria away from each other, but it would effectively keep Iranian-linked forces at various distances from the Israel-held Golan as well.

Netanyahu previously said in several occasions that most Arab countries no longer see Israel as their enemy but as a "vital ally" in the fight against "terrorism either led by Daesh or led by Iran".

"A permanent Iranian presence in Syria would connect Lebanon-based Hezbollah to Iran via Iraq and Syria".

"US officials will meet with Israeli counterparts to discuss regional security issues, including Syria".

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Mr Netanyahu's remarks echoed those on Sunday by Israel's Regional Cooperation Minister, Mr Tzachi Hanegbi, who sounded circumspect about the ceasefire deal and said Israel has "set red lines and will stand firm on this".

"We maintain the right to act freely and the only consideration guiding us is the security of the state of Israel", he said.

This meeting stood out because Eizenkot met earlier with Chief and members of Staff of the United States Army and discussed the matter with them. We will not allow Syria to become a front line against the state of Israel. "We will simply not allow a Shiite or Iranian presence in Syria".

While the agreement requires all foreign forces - including Iranian troops and those backed by Tehran - to leave Syria, the deal does not set deadlines for their departure.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the presence of Iran in Syria is "legitimate", according to Russia's Interfax news agency. He added that "there was no talk about Iran or, moreover, pro-Iranian forces".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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