Israel, Russia, US ‘held secret talks’ over Syria ceasefire

The Gaza Post | The News of Palestine – Syria

Israel, the United States and Russia held secret discussions last month over the ceasefire in southern Syria, according to Israeli officials and Russian diplomats.

Jordanian capital, Amman, and another European capital were the hosts of the meetings , Haaretz reported.

Israel reportedly opposed the deal at the meetings, which took place just days before Russia and the US announced the ceasefire. Tel Aviv is said to have raised its objections over what it saw as a lack of concern about removing Iran-backed militias from the country.

According to the anonymous officials who spoke to Haaretz, the US team was headed by Michael Ratney and Brett McGurk, President Donald Trump’s special envoys for Syria. The Russian team, on the other hand, was led by the duo’s Russian counterpart Alexander Lavrentiev.

meanwhile, Israel sent a team with Mossad,Israeli army, and foreign and defence ministries representatives .

The Israeli team argued that the ceasefire should focus on Iranian influence after Syria’s war ends, At the meetings. Israel disagreed with the American and Russian stance of the safe zones providing an environment in which the Islamic State group can be defeated in Syria.

The team from Tel Aviv reportedly urged their Russian counterparts to demand that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hizballah and other Shia militias leave the country.

Israel’s position on Iranian influence in Syria seems to have had traction, with both Russia and the US coming out in recent weeks to put these concerns to rest.

Last week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that one of the conditions of cooperation with Russia in Syria was that Iranian forces must be removed from the country.

A week earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow would ensure that Israel’s security concerns are considered.

Source: The New Arab

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