Kremlin gives Israel green light to attack Syria


Earlier this year, Israel accused Iran of flying a drone into Israeli airspace and attacking the T-4 military base in Syria, killing at least seven IRGC personnel. "They [the agreements] stipulate that this de-escalation zone should consolidate stability, while all non-Syrian forces must be withdrawn from this area", Lavrov said.

Israel has repeatedly vowed to prevent Iran establishing a permanent presence in Syria and Lebanon and has carried out dozens of air strikes against Iran-backed forces and attempts to smuggle advanced weapons to Hezbollah.

As the Syrian regime is building up for a major offensive in southern Syria, Israel has been pressuring Iran to leave Syria so it will not continue to benefit from the regime's gains.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, reported on Thursday that Iranian troops and members of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group are getting ready to withdraw from southern Syria.

Mr McKenzie said the United States troops and their local militia allies were staying in At-Tanf, dismissing Assad's call for their withdrawal.

"There are Iranian advisers in Syria some of whom were martyred while working with the Syrian Arab army and their presence is part of an agreement and in co-ordination with the armed forces on where they should be", al-Moallem said.

"Contrary to the unlawful presence of the USA and some regional countries in Syria, Iran's presence is not imposed and is not the result of an illegal military aggression". "As a result, ... only the Syrian Army troops should be stationed at the Syrian border with Israel", the Russian minister said at a joint press-conference with his counterpart from Mozambique.

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Tensions between Washington and Damascus boiled over in April, when USA and allied warplanes launched a series of airstrikes against suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

Over the last several months, Israel was credited with bombing numerous Iranian military sites inside Syria, increasing those strikes after Iran sent an armed drone into Israeli territory.

Before Lieberman's departure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel wouldn't tolerate any Iranian presence inside Syria. A senior Israeli diplomat warned me this week that no agreement has been made for all of Syria, and that Israel would not be satisfied with a partial agreement to only keep Iranian forces away from its border.

There has been a surge in Israeli violence against people of Gaza in recent weeks.

It's too soon to say whether Israel's diplomacy with Russian Federation will result in the removal of Iran and its allied militias from Syria altogether.

Mr Assad said Iran's presence in Syria was limited to officers assisting the army.

Shamkhani said on Saturday Iran supports a Russian-led effort to impose Syrian government control over the south of Syria.