Friday, 24 November, 2017

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

Israel gives lukewarm welcome to post-war Syria 'principles' Israel gives lukewarm welcome to post-war Syria 'principles'
Melinda Barton | 14 November, 2017, 21:56

"We have not discussed in detail with our U.S. colleagues what is going on in the whole territory of Syria, apart from the fact that we have fixed our and Iranian legitimate presence under an invitation of the legitimate Syrian government".

Israel signaled Sunday that it would keep up military strikes across its frontier with Syria to prevent any encroachment by Iranian-allied forces, even as the United States and Russian Federation try to build up a cease-fire in the area. The Shiite allies have sent forces to back Syrian President Bashar Assad, who appears to be headed toward victory after years of fighting.

"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. Russia, which views Iran as a key player in resolving the crisis in Syria, has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the role that the Islamic Republic plays in the war-torn country.

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".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had intensively lobbied in Moscow and Washington for the agreement to create a 37-50 mile secure buffer zone between Israel and Syria.

Describing Israel's security policy as the "right combination of firmness and responsibility", Netanyahu said Monday that he has "informed our friends in Washington and our friends in Moscow that we will operate in Syria, including southern Syria, in accordance with our understanding and in accordance with our security needs". The two discussed Iranian moves in Syria. However, according to Israeli media, the new ceasefire will allow such fighters to entrench themselves in areas located only five kilometers from Israel's frontier. Gadi Eisenkot secretly flew to Brussels on Friday where he met with met with the head of the US Army's European Command Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti.

Under the terms of a memorandum signed in Jordan last week between the United States and Russian Federation, which extends an earlier ceasefire agreed in Syria in July, all foreign forces in Syria are meant to be removed.