Netanyahu tells Putin: Israel will continue to act against Iran in Syria

PM Netanyahu and President Putin spoke by telephone four days after Putin’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in Moscow, in which both leaders spoke of the importance of Israel’s security.

By Tovah Lazaroff, REUTERS July 20, 2018 Jerusalem Post

Source Link: Netanyahu tells Putin: Israel will continue to act against Iran in Syria

{There goes the neighborhood. – LS}

Israel will continue to act against Iran in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday as Syrian rebels were due to evacuate the border area near Israel’s Golan Heights.

The two spoke by telephone four days after Putin’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in Moscow, in which both leaders spoke of the importance of Israel’s security. Trump later told Fox News that Putin was a fan of “Bibi.”

Netanyahu and Putin spoke of regional developments and the situation in Syria, according to the Prime MInister’s Office.

He said that, “Israel would continue to act against the establishment of an Iranian military presence in Syria,” Netanyahu said.

On Thursday Trump tweeted that he looked forward to his next meeting with Putin, “so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more. There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems…but they can ALL be solved!”

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are due to resume control of Syrian area of the Golan Heights.

“We are awaiting the start of the operation and God willing it will happen today,” Hammam Dbayat, the governor of al-Quneitra province, told Reuters, as buses prepared to transport out rebel fighters to the northwestern province of Idlib.

Reuters footage filmed from the Israeli side of the frontier showed men climbing into trucks piled high with belongings and leaving al-Qahtaniya village at the Golan frontier. It was not clear where they were headed.

Tens of thousands of people have been sheltering at the frontier since the government offensive began one month ago.

With the Russian-backed offensive closing in, rebels in Quneitra agreed on Thursday to either accept the return of state rule, or leave to Idlib province in the north, echoing terms imposed on defeated rebels elsewhere in Syria. Idlib’s population has been swollen by Syrians fleeing from Assad’s advances elsewhere.

The offensive has restored Syrian government control over a swathe of the southwest, strategically vital territory at the borders with Jordan and Israel.

It has been one of the swiftest military campaigns of the seven-year-long war. The United States, which once armed the southern rebels, told them not to expect its intervention as the offensive got underway. Many surrendered quickly.

While swathes of Syria remain outside his control, Assad’s advances over the past two years have brought him ever closer to snuffing out the armed rebellion that grew out of a civilian uprising against his rule in 2011.

It leaves the insurgency with one last big foothold – a chunk of territory in the northwest at the border with Turkey stretching from Idlib province to the city of Jarablus northeast of Aleppo. The deployment of the Turkish military in this area will complicate further gains for Assad.

Large areas of the northeast and east also remain outside Assad’s grasp. These areas are held by Kurdish-led militias, supported by 2,000 U.S. troops on the ground.

Dbayat said it remained unclear exactly how many fighters would leave Quneitra, but the government had so far prepared 45 buses. “We are ready to move the militants out of the area, and if it is completed, we will immediately provide the necessary services to residents, including electricity and water.”

State TV said 10 buses had entered a village in Quneitra on Thursday night for the evacuation of insurgents “who refuse to settle with the state” towards rebel territory in the north.

The offensive sparked the largest exodus of the war, uprooting more than 320,000 people mostly towards the southern borders. Both neighbors Israel and Jordan said they would not take in refugees.

Many people left the frontier with Jordan after government forces took the Nassib border crossing and rebels in Deraa province agreed a surrender deal last week.

Explore posts in the same categories: Iran - land bridge to Mediterranean, Iran - Syria war, Iran / Israel War

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