Moskau und Iran weiter uneins in Syrien
Moscow confirmed on Monday that its jets would not provide air coverage to Syrian regime forces in their “southern battle,” if Iranian-linked militias are allowed to participate in it.
The Russian Hmeimim airbase announced in a statement posted on its Facebook page that “Iranian forces and Hezbollah should withdraw from southern Syria, or else Syrian regime forces would not be provided with any support from Russian forces in the upcoming battle in the province of Daraa.”
The statement added: “We have fears of losing this battle in the absence of Russian launchers, which helped Syrian regime forces win several battles.”
During the weekend, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani denied that any Iranian forces were present in southern Syria.
Earlier, Moscow and Tel Aviv held advanced talks concerning Syria after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met in Russia with Avigdor Lieberman, his Israeli counterpart, while President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed Syria in a phone call.
Political sources in Tel Aviv said the advanced Russian-Israeli talks led to an understanding to keep Assad’s forces and to allow their deployment at the border with Israel, in exchange for the withdrawal of Iranian fighters from Syria.