Despite Netanyahu’s Warning, US and Russia Agree to Iranian Military Presence in Syria
Last week, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against allowing Iran’s military presence in Syria and, according to Asharq Al-Awsat, he had legitimate reasons for concern: The newspaper reported that at a meeting between US and Russian delegations in Jordan, the Americans agreed to situate Iranian militias 5 miles from the Israeli border.
As part of the recent attempts to establish a cease-fire in southern Syria, the US has agreed to Russia’s proposal to situate Iranian militias within a distance of only 8 kilometers, or 5 miles, from the border with Israel. The US had originally proposed distancing the Iranian forces at least 18 miles from Israel’s border, but London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported Thursday that the new conditions were agreed upon in a meeting between American and Russian delegations in Amman.
The American delegation also agreed to deploy a Russian force to supervise the ceasefire zone in southern Syria. Israeli officials estimate that the Russian presence in the region will make it difficult for Israel to attack targets in Syria.
Just last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and warned him of the dangers of Iran’s entrenchment in Syria. Netanyahu said that Iran’s expanding role in Syria poses a threat not only to Israel and the Middle East, but to the entire world: “Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent…Lebanon.”
In a joint press conference with Putin, Netanyahu said that he considers the victory over ISIS “a very important thing” but warned that “where the defeated Islamic State group vanishes, Iran is stepping in.” He added that “we cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel. It arms terrorist organizations, it sponsors and initiates terror.”
Reported by: Chelsea Mosery Birhbaum – Jerusalem Online