Iranian Presence in Syria Is Legitimate, Russia Says Amid Israeli Concerns

Israel signals free hand in Syria as US, Russia expand truce

Bibi Corruption Case Continues: Police Ready to Charge Netanyahu With Bribery

"We have not discussed in detail with our United States colleagues what is going on in the whole territory of Syria, apart from the fact that we have fixed our and Iranian legitimate presence under an invitation of the legitimate Syrian government".

Netanyahu declared that Iran knows Israel will "not accept" its permanent presence in Syria, adding "I have clarified to our friends in Washington and our friends in Moscow that we will operate in Syria, including southern Syria, in accordance with our understanding and in accordance with our security needs".

The PMO did not say when Netanyahu spoke with Putin. While a joint American-Russian statement announcing the deal called for "the reduction and ultimate elimination of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the [border region]", Jerusalem fears that such will only apply to radical Sunni rebels battling regime forces, as, in principle, Assad does not consider Iranian-backed troops as "foreign" given their role in effectively saving the Syrian leader.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had intensively lobbied in Moscow and Washington for the agreement to create a 37-50 mile secure buffer zone between Israel and Syria.

The Times of Israel reported that the team's visit has been confirmed by U.S. officials.

On Tuesday, Lavrov said Iran maintained a "legitimate" presence in Syria, according to the Interfax news agency.

The Iranian presence through proxies on Israel's border is seen "as a major strategic threat and - importantly - increasingly as one that can not easily be addressed by a paltry few kilometers of buffer near the Golan" he continued.

Israel on Sunday did not offer an official response to the tripartite agreement produced by Russian Federation, the USA and Jordan regarding on a cease-fire in southern Syria.

U.S. officials confirmed the meetings would primarily cover the recent ceasefire deal.

Repeating Israel's warnings to Iran and Hezbollah, Lieberman said: "We will not allow the Shi'ite axis to establish Syria as its forefront base".

His regional cooperation minister, Tzachi Hanegbi, sounded circumspect about the deal, telling reporters that it "does not meet Israel's unequivocal demand the there will not be developments that bring the forces of Hezbollah or Iran to the Israel-Syria border in the north".

Latest News