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Israel opposes Russian version of «cease-fire» in Syria

Sunday, July 16, speaking at a press conference in Paris after meeting with French President, the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu called «a very bad» agreement on the establishment of a zone of de-escalation in the South of Syria, as it makes in fact legitimate the presence of Iranian military in the region.

Barak Ravid quotes in the ha’aretz review by a senior Israeli official, who says the fears of Israeli leaders about Iran’s quest to significantly expand its presence in Syria. And it’s not only in sending Iranian military advisers in Syria, and to send to this country a considerable military force, and the establishment of the Syrian bases of the Iranian air force and Navy.

On the evening of 16 July, Netanyahu discussed the topic «the southern zone of de-escalation» and in General agreement on the cease-fire in Syria with U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

We will remind that the agreement on the ceasefire in Syria was recently agreed at the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald trump in Hamburg.

Formally, the agreement on a ceasefire in Syria came into force on 9 July, 12:00 local time. It applies to the province of Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida, including the territory adjacent to the Israeli and Jordanian borders. Agreement between supporters and opponents of the regime of Bashar al-Assad was concluded under the mediation of Russia, USA and Jordan.

On 7 July, the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov said that the American administration reached an understanding on ceasefire in the South-West of Syria. The specific boundaries of the zones de-escalation was defined during the meeting of the Russian-American-Jordanian expert group, reminds RIA Novosti. «The result of joint work was a tripartite Memorandum of understanding, fixing the conditions of functioning of zones of de-escalation, according to which in the given territory with 12:00 on 9 July came into force a ceasefire. Security in the South-West of the country provides the Russian military police in cooperation with the armed forces of the United States and Jordan,» – says the publication of the Russian Agency.

July 8, at a press conference following the summit of «Big twenty» in Hamburg the President of Russia Vladimir Putin confirmed that almost all interlocutors on this forum discussed the situation in Syria. However, he noted that the position of the US became more pragmatic. The result of negotiations Putin called the agreement on the South area of de-escalation. We are talking about the terms of the agreement on cease-fire in areas near the borders with Israel and Jordan, including in the area of Daraa.

«This work was connected to Jordan, some other countries in the region. We have held consultations with Israel and continue these consultations in the near future», – said the President of the Russian Federation. Putin also said that he had discussed in Hamburg on the topic of other areas of de-escalation with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

«It largely depends on us, much associated with the contradictions between the countries of the region. We all have our own concerns, we all have our preferences, their interests, and legitimate interests, and need this way and treated as legitimate interests, it is necessary to look for compromises», – said the Russian President.

«Now we need to agree on what are exactly the boundaries of these zones, how will you ensure safety in these areas. It is very hard, at first glance, even tedious, but extremely important and responsible work. Based on the positive experience that was made recently, relying on the goodwill of Iran, Turkey, of course, the Syrian government and President Assad, we can make further steps», – said July 8, Vladimir Putin.

«Most importantly, and we have confirmed it, including, incidentally, in the documents on education here in this zone in the South with access to the Jordanian border and the adjacent Golan heights, and – most importantly – to provide the ultimate territorial integrity of Syria, so that these zones of de-escalation was the prototype of such areas, which could cooperate with each other and with the official Damascus. And if we can do it, then we will create, of course, a good base and background for the overall solution of the Syrian problem through political means», – concluded the President of the Russian Federation.

On 6 July, on the eve of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Then, the press-service of the Kremlin reported: «In the context of joint efforts in the fight against international terrorism were discussed the problems of the middle East settlement and the situation in Syria.» The office of the head of the government of Israel has not commented on the telephone conversation. In Netanyahu’s inner circle made it clear that the Prime Minister is dissatisfied with the text of the agreement on cease-fire in Syria, as it does not take into account the interests of Israel.

Before the meeting of the President of the United States Donald trump and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in the Hamburg edition of the Daily Beast published an article which asserted that the American leader is willing to agree to preserving Assad in power in Syria and the presence in this country of the Russian military. In the article Spencer Ackerman also noted that U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson suggested to develop with our Russian colleagues «common mechanisms» of resolving the situation in Syria. This information was confirmed by the U.S. state Department.

In the General scheme of such settlement includes: the preservation of power of Bashar al-Assad, agreed to the creation of «security zones» (zones de-escalation) in the version proposed by Russia and its allies, cooperation with Russia and accept the presence of Russian troops in Syria.

However, as stated in the publication The Daily Beast, the main goal will be to win over the «Islamic state», and the intermediate goal – the renewal of the coordination of Russian and American military in Syria, in order to avoid accidental collisions.

On 6 July the Secretary of state Rex Tillerson said that Washington is ready to consider establishing joint no-fly zones in Syria and other mechanisms to ensure stability. In a statement the head of the state Department it was said: «the United States is ready to consider establishing joint mechanisms for ensuring stability, including a no-fly zone, observers on the ground for observance of the cease-fire, as well as coordinated delivery of humanitarian assistance».

Against this background, the Israeli newspaper «Haaretz» wrote that in Jerusalem insist that the «zone of de-escalation» in the South of Syria, near the borders of Israel and Jordan, was controlled by the us military. The Israeli leadership has repeatedly emphasized the inadmissibility of the presence in those areas the armed forces of Iran or Lebanese Hizbullah.

July 9, Israeli defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman commented on the entry into force of the agreement on cease-fire in Syria: «Israel retains full freedom of action – contrary to the agreements between the trump and Putin. We will do whatever we deem necessary.»

The question of who will ensure compliance with the cease-fire in the southern «zone of de-escalation» in Syria, remains open. The us military today are present on the Jordanian-Syrian border, but the border of Israel and Syria, they are not. Here are the peacekeepers from the contingent of the UN force monitoring the disengagement on the Golan heights (UNDOF), who have no arms, no motivation to ensure the cease-fire, not to mention the fact that such functions are not part of their job. In the South-West of Syria, in addition to the regular Syrian army and Lebanese Hizbullah, there are many opposition groups, not obeying a single command.

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Israel opposes Russian version of «cease-fire» in Syria 17.07.2017

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