Israel Wins Russia Concession to Move Iran, Hezbollah from Syria-Israel Border

Clay Curtis
June 2, 2018

The Pentagon is warning the Syrian regime to refrain from attacking USA -backed forces in the country, shortly after Syrian President Bashar Assad demanded US forces depart and threatened to launch attacks on territory held by American-backed Kurdish paramilitary units in northeast Syria.

"Any interested party in Syria should understand that attacking USA forces or our coalition partners will be a bad policy", Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, said at a press conference in Washington on May 31.

Over 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria are embedded with the SDF in the northeast as well as in the enclave of At-Tanf in the south, along the Jordanian border.

The reported agreement would see Iranian forces leave southwestern Syria, while allowing Israel to strike Iranian assets deep in the country.

". we started now opening doors for negotiations".

A source told the Ynet news site on Thursday that "Israel is uninterested in partial agreements, but rather in an exit of all Iranian forces from Syria". "We all don't trust the Americans, [so] the one option is to live with each other as Syrians", Assad said.

He added: "We are there".

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Mr Assad said he is committed to pushing USA forces out of Syria during an explosive interview with Russian broadcaster RT. This indecisive approach has been a dismal failure, it has marginalised the USA while allowing Russia, Iran and Turkey to disregard America.

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), now fighting against the central government. Both the Obama and the Trump administrations have argued that the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria is legal under the congressional authorizations to use military force against Al-Qaeda dating back to 2001.

The SDF, which enjoys both United States and French military support, has on repeated occasions attacked positions held by the Syrian government forces east of the country.

Syria, which has recaptured most of its territories from foreign-backed militants over the past years, has warned that it would ultimately retake territories under the control of the Kurds.

The SDF is also at loggerhead with Turkey, which has launched a military operation in northern Syria to push back the group and its allies to the east of the Euphrates river, where Kurdish communities dominate the region.

Although the Syrian Army does already have a sizeable presence in the Deraa Governorate, including the provincial capital, its upcoming offensive will aim to liberate the entirety of southern Syria, including territory near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The threats come amid a scramble among several nations and factions in the Syrian civil war, as the Assad government consolidates control of the major cities but faces pressure over the postwar balance of power.

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