By Middle East Affairs
Russia wants only Syrian forces on the country’s southern border according to Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister.
Yesterday, Haaretz reported that Israeli political and military officials think that Russia is considering the possible removal of Iranian forces and allied Shi’ite militias from the Israel-Syria border. Iranian forces in the rest of the country would be likely to stay.
Since Israel and Iran exchanged military shots on May 10, Russia has been growing more concerned about the possibility of Israel destabilizing President Assad’s and his troops.
In this time, Russia has made efforts to try to get the United States to join its side to help President Assad stabilize Syria country.
The United States along with Jordan entered into an agreement with Russia last November to assist President Assad after his troops took over previously held rebel territory in central Syria.
Then, Israel wanted to Iranians and Shi’ite militias at least 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Israeli border in its occupied Golan Heights territory, east of the Damascus-Daraa road or, according to another version, east of the Damascus-Suwayda road, about 70 kilometers from the border reports Haaretz.
Israeli intelligence says that they are currently around 2000 Iranian officers and advisors, as well as members of the Revolutionary Guards, 9,000 Shi’ite militiamen from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and around 7,000 Hezbollah fighters in Syria.
In the U.S. era of “Without Iran and without ISIS”, Israel believes the U.S. is in a good position to negotiate with Russia over an effective strategy in Syria.
Washington has called out President Assad to not further expand his conflict zone in the rest of the country.
On Friday, it also warned Syria that “firm and appropriate measures” will be made by the U.S. in response to Assad’s ceasefire violations, as rumored in reports of an impending military operation in a de-escalation zone in the country’s southwest.
Heather Nauert, from the State Department, released a statement on Friday saying, “As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations.”
Last week on Wednesday, Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Syria’s government troops were moving towards the southern province of Deraa, emboldened by their victory against an Islamic State hold in southern Damascus.
Leaflets from the government have been dropped from an aircraft in Deraa telling fighter to disarm, according to Syrian state media.
In recent week’s Syria has once more ignored ceasefire accords in de-escalation zones in northeastern Syria, only to be met with U.S ground and air forces in a four-hour attack that left 300 pro-Assad fighters, many of whom were Russian, dead.
Russia’s assistance along with Iranian forces on the ground and Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters have helped Assad regain strength and quench opposition forces in large cities in Syria.