Re­port: Rus­sia re­jects Is­raeli de­mand on Syria buf­fer zone

Iran Daily - - International -

Rus­sia has re­port­edly re­jected an Is­raeli de­mand to cre­ate a “buf­fer zone” in Syria where forces al­lied to the Syrian gov­ern­ment would be pro­hib­ited from en­ter­ing.

The Is­raeli daily Haaretz said in a re­port on Fri­day that Rus­sia had re­jected an Is­raeli de­mand to es­tab­lish a “buf­fer zone” in Syria stretch­ing 60 to 80 kilo­me­ters from the Is­rae­lioc­cu­pied Golan Heights.

Iran does not have com­bat forces on the ground in Syria but of­fers ad­vi­sory mil­i­tary as­sis­tance to the Damascus gov­ern­ment. Rus­sia, an­other Syrian ally, has been con­duct­ing an aerial bom­bard­ment cam­paign in Syria.

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu last month trav­eled to Rus­sia to dis­cuss with President Vladimir Putin his “con­cerns” about Syria.”

Ac­cord­ing to a Rus­sia To­day re­port back then, Ne­tanyahu was told that Moscow, “which views Iran as key to re­solv­ing the [Syria] cri­sis,” would “note Is­raeli in­ter­ests,” in what likely amounted to a diplo­matic dis­missal of the Is­raeli claims.

“Iran is Rus­sia’s strate­gic ally in the Mid­dle East,” Putin re­port­edly told Ne­tanyahu. Wit­nesses present dur­ing the meet­ing say that fol­low­ing Ne­tanyahu’s en­treaties to the Rus­sian leader, Putin sighed and told the Is­raeli pre­mier that his gov­ern­ment would be un­able to as­sist.

“Un­for­tu­nately, we can­not help you here,” Putin re­port­edly said.

Rus­sia and Iran have been in close co­or­di­na­tion to as­sist the Syrian gov­ern­ment’s anti-ter­ror fight.

The Haaretz re­port came just be­fore Rus­sia, Iran, and Turkey, which to­gether act as guar­an­tor states in peace talks for Syria, agreed on the de­tails of a “de-es­ca­la­tion zone” in the Arab coun­try’s west­ern Idlib Prov­ince dur­ing res­o­lu­tion talks in the Kazakh cap­i­tal of As­tana.

The three coun­tries first agreed to set up four “de-es­ca­la­tion zones” in Syria in May. They had al­ready worked out the de­tails of three of the zones. They de­lin­eated the re­main­ing one on Fri­day, the sec­ond day of the lat­est round of the As­tana talks.

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