Israel says will only allow Assad forces near border


Israel will not allow any other troops except Syrian regime forces to be deployed along the border with war-torn Syria, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday.

According to the newspaper, Israel relayed messages through the U.S. and Russia that it will only allow forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime to enter near Israel’s northern border area and will not tolerate the deployment of Iranian forces and fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah group in the area.

The messages were conveyed during a recent meeting between Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford in Washington.

According to the daily, Israel said it expects the 1974 cease-fire agreement with Syria to be upheld and the demilitarized zone along its border to be kept free of military forces and heavy weaponry.

On Friday, the UN Security Council renewed for six months its mission to observe the cease-fire in the Golan Heights, calling for armed groups to leave the area separating Syrian and Israeli forces.

The Syrian Golan Heights were occupied by Israel during the 1967 Middle East war.

The Israeli warning came as Syrian regime forces and allied militias pushed ahead with a major military offensive in the opposition-held Daraa province in southwestern Syria.

At least 97 civilians have reportedly been killed and thousands displaced since the regime offensive began two weeks ago.

Following peace talks held last year in Kazakh capital Astana, Daraa was designated a “de-escalation zone” in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

Source: Anadolu Agency


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