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US Reservations On 'South Syrian' Agreements

US Reservations On 'South Syrian' Agreements

Saturday, 2 June, 2018 - 06:15
Children in front of a destructed building in al-Bab city, north of Syria. AP
Tel Aviv, London - Nazeer Majli, Asharq Al-Awsat
Western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that Washington expressed its reservations on the Russian-Israeli agreements that allow Syrian regime forces to control three strategic positions south the country, because “the US administration wants to continue exerting pressures on the regime.”

On Thursday, Moscow and Tel Aviv held advanced talks concerning Syria after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met in Moscow with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, while President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the Syrian file in a phone call.

Political sources in Tel Aviv said the advanced Russian-Israeli talks produced an understanding to keep Assad forces and to allow their deployment at the border with Israel, in exchange of the withdrawal of Iranian fighters from Syria.

The sources said Russia refused to consider the Iranian military presence in Syria as a threat to Israel’s security, however, “Moscow said it understands the Israeli demands for withdrawing Iranian forces and their militias from Syria.”

An Israeli source later uncovered that Lieberman promised the Russians that Israel would not halt the full return of Syrian regime forces to the Quneitra area and other southern highlands.

Meanwhile, the Russian Hmeimim air base near Latakia announced that forces from the fourth team of the Syrian regime Republican Guards headed Thursday to the south of Syria with a mission to fight Jubhat al-Nusra militias.

Separately, the Pentagon warned head of the regime, Bashar Assad not to carry out an offensive against Kurdish-led forces backed by the US that control the country's northeast.

"Any interested party in Syria should understand that attacking US forces or our coalition partners will be a bad policy," Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, director of the joint staff, said during a press conference.

His comments came after Assad told Russian television RT he would not hesitate to use force to retake the third of the country held by the Syrian Democratic Forces.

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