The Hadashot news report seems to contradict the understanding that Israel and Russia apparently reached regarding the presence of foreign forces along the Syrian-Israeli border.
Hezbollah leader Nasrallah Photo Credit: EPA
Hezbollah terrorists in Syria’s Golan Heights are now wearing Syrian Army uniforms so that they can remain close to the Israeli border following the understandings that Russia and Israel reached, according to a Hadashot news report.
Citing a “knowledgeable source,” the Israeli news agency said that Russian officers and Syrian intelligence commanders met on Wednesday evening to discuss moving the Hezbollah forces to a town near Quneitra as Syrian soldiers travel south. The Syrian-Russian coordination that the source revealed contradicts Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s recent statements about the presence of foreign forces in Syria.
On Monday, Russia’s top diplomat said that only Syrian Army troops should be positioned along Syria’s border with Israel, Reuters reported, citing the Russian RIA news agency. Lavrov then made another statement about the issue yesterday when he said that all foreign forces need to withdraw from the Syrian-Israeli border area “as soon as possible.” Lavrov’s statements came amid numerous meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin about the countries’ security coordination in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman left for Moscow yesterday. He is set to meet with his Russian counterpart today to discuss the situation in Syria and the Iranian entrenchment in the Arab state.
Earlier this week, JOL reported that the Israeli-Russian military cooperation has tightened due to recent events in Syria. Liberman’s meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu is part of the increased cooperation between the countries.
While most Israel’s coordination with Russia regarding military matters is done in secrecy, the information about the meeting was relayed to Hadashot by a senior Israeli source and according to his report, Israeli and Russian officials have established several understandings regarding Syria.
The mutual understandings include the presence of Assad forces in southern Syria and along Israeli-Syrian border and in return, the Russians will commit to the evacuation of Iranian and Hezbollah forces from the border area. Russia will also publicly call for a total evacuation of foreign forces from Syria, which includes US and Turkish forces. The senior source said that “Assad was and is still a monster that slaughters his own people, but this is the international community and the Arab states’ issue. We cannot fix the world. Israel has to worry about its own security.”