Monday, 20 November, 2017

United States security team in Israel to discuss Syrian border deal

United States security team in Israel to discuss Syrian border deal United States security team in Israel to discuss Syrian border deal
Bennie Garza | 14 November, 2017, 21:17

Meanwhile, a USA government official said Monday that Russian Federation agreed "to work with the Syrian regime to remove Iranian-backed forces to a defined distance" from the Golan Heights border with Israel.

In a brief statement, the Israeli official said Netanyahu told Putin "Israel will continue to look out for its security interests in any situation".

Israel has largely stayed out of the war but has struck suspected weapon convoys to Hezbollah.

The PMO did not say when Netanyahu spoke with Putin.

Lavrov, who was quoted by RIA news agency, denied comments made by senior United States officials that the recently announced ceasefire agreement in southern Syria included a Russian commitment to ensure that Iranian-backed militias would be withdrawn from the country.

Israel is apprehensive of the deal because it does allow anti-Israel forces to reach 7km (4.5 miles) from the border on the Golan Heights, a distance Jerusalem insists is not satisfactory for its security needs.

"I clarified for our friends, first and foremost in Washington and also our friends in Moscow, that Israel will act in Syria, including in southern Syria, in accordance with its understanding and our security needs", Netanyahu said, according to the Israeli website.

In this Saturday, May 9, 2015 file photo, a Hezbollah fighter stands on a hill next to the group's yellow flag in the fields of the Syrian town of Assal al-Ward in the mountainous region of Qalamoun, Syria.

On Tuesday, Lavrov said Iran maintained a "legitimate" presence in Syria, according to the Interfax news agency. Israel saw that the trio-agreement didn't respond to the Israeli demand to drive out Iranians and their militias from the border with Israel at Golan.

Russia has not promised to ensure a withdrawal of pro-Iranian forces from Syria, RIA news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Tuesday.

The source added that the Israeli security body fears that the two great forces haven't shown till now actual acts to drive out Iranians from Syria in general, and the south in particular.

U.S. officials confirmed the meetings would primarily cover the recent ceasefire deal.

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