Israel is satisfied with Russia’s position on Iran’s military presence in Syria, Israeli Ambassador to Moscow Gary Koren told TASS on Thursday.
The reason Koren and the Israeli government are so pleased, Koren explained, is that “the Russian authorities are aware of Israel’s position, which has been clarified many times, particularly at high-level meetings and through channels set up by foreign and defense ministries.”
According to a Thursday report of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which says it had obtained details of Russia’s proposals for the future of the Syrian south, the foreign military units loyal to the Assad regime will exit the governorates of Quneitra, Daraa and al-Suwayda in southern Syria, near Israel’s Golan Heights border. Currently there are about 500 Hezbollah terrorists and Iranian advisors, as well as thousands of non-Syrian nationals who carry Syrian regime ID cards.
This shift has to count as a win for the Netanyahu government, and explain why Ambassador Koren is so happy today.
Meanwhile, also according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Assad regime continues to move military reinforcements of loyal gunmen to the countryside of Daraa and Quneitra, in preparation for a military operation that would erupt inevitably if no agreement is reached on evacuating the area. The pouring of regime loyalists into southern Syria coincides with preparations by the Iranian Forces and Hezbollah and pro-Iran militias to withdraw from both provinces.
The Russian policy change cited by the Observatory follows a 90 minute plus meeting in Moscow on Thursday between Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu. Liberman tweeted after the meeting: “The State of Israel appreciates Russia’s understanding of our security needs and especially the situation on our northern border. We will continue the dialogue with Russia on all the issues at hand.”
According to the Defense Ministry, the meeting dealt with matters of security between the two countries, particularly regarding the situation in Syria and Israel’s attempt to prevent Iranian solidification there.
Also slated for departure from southern Syria, according to the Observatory, are ISIS affiliates Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham and Jaysh Khalid Ibn al-Walid. The remaining rebel and Islamic factions will merge together in two main groups, one in the eastern area of Daraa province and the other in its western area, where they will work in cooperation with the Russian police expedition. The Russians for their part will commit to keeping the regime forces to the cities and towns.
The Russians have apparently committed to provide that the institutions of the Syrian State will start operating again, under the “internationally recognized” flag of the Syrian regime. Finally, the Assad army will take up positions along the Israeli and Jordanian borders, and will cooperate in opening the border crossing with Jordan.