Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters after his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday, July 16 that Israel opposes the ceasefire agreement in southern Syria reached by the United States and Russia, as it fixes Iran’s presence in the neighboring country.
A senior Israeli official explained, asking not to mention his name, that Israel is aware of Iran’s intentions to significantly expand its presence in Syria. According to him, Tehran is not only interested in sending advisers to Syria, but also in increasing the contingent of the armed forces, including the establishment of an air base for Iranian aircraft, as well as the naval base. “This is already changing the picture in the region compared to what has been so far,” the official said.
The agreement provided for the creation of zones of de-escalation, or security zones, along the borders of Syria with Jordan and Israel. Over the past month, Israel negotiated this matter with senior US officials, presenting a list of its demands – specifically, that the Iranians, Hezbollah fighters and other Shiite militiamen are not in the border zone. Israel also told the US that it objected to the Russian troops providing a ceasefire in security zones near the border.
On July 9, Netanyahu said that both Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told him that they understand Israel’s position and take into account its demands. However, as senior Israeli officials reported to the publication, when the text of the deal was received, it was found that, contrary to expectations, the US and Russia almost completely ignored Israel’s position.
“The agreement, in the form in which it is now, is very bad,” said one senior Israeli official. “It does not take into account practically any interests of the security of Israel, and this creates an alarming reality in the south of Syria. The agreement does not contain any explicit word about Iran, Hezbollah or Shiite formations in Syria, “he explained.
On July 7, after the conversation between US President Donald Trump and Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, it was announced that an agreement had been reached on a ceasefire in the Syrian region of Deraa and El Quneitra.
Earlier, on May 4, the guarantors of the ceasefire in Syria – Russia, Turkey and Iran – signed a memorandum on the establishment of four security zones in Syria. They will operate in the province of Idlib, in the territories of Latakia, Aleppo and Hama; In the north of Homs province; In East Gut; In the south of Syria – the provinces of Deraa and Kuneitra. There will be prohibited the use of weapons. Also, humanitarian aid will be delivered there.