Executive Intelligence Review


Russia’s Diplomacy May Allow Syria To Regain Sovereignty in Its South

May 29, 2018 (EIRNS)—There appears to be intense diplomacy underway involving Russia, the United States, Jordan, Iran and Israel to create conditions whereby Damascus can reimpose sovereignty over southern Syria along the Israeli and Jordanian borders. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov indicated as much during a joint press conference yesterday with Mozambican Foreign Minister Jose Pacheco during which he said that only Syrian troops should be on Syria’s southern border according to the de-escalation zone agreement with the United States and Jordan.

Under the agreement “all non-Syrian forces would eventually withdraw from this part of the Syrian Arab Republic,” and such withdrawal should be mutual. Lavrov was referring, here, specifically to southern Syria, but he also referred earlier to the U.S. military base at al-Tanf, about which he reported that Russia has “accumulated a lot of evidence that strange things are going on” there, including the presence of extremist groups in and around the Rukban refugee camp. When Syrian President Bashar al Assad visited Moscow May 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, among other things, that the time was ripe for the start of a more active phase of the political process, part of which will be that “foreign armed forces will be withdrawing from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.” This clearly includes the U.S. troops in Syria, as well.

According to the Jerusalem Post, citing a report on Israel’s Channel 2, Lavrov’s comments are part of an understanding reached between Israel and Russia to keep Iranian and Hezbollah forces away from Syria’s border with Israel on the Golan Heights. According to the reported agreement, Israel will not intervene to prevent the deployment of Assad’s troops to the southern border and the Golan Heights, effectively reasserting Assad’s control there, and Moscow will make sure that these troops do not include Iranian or Hezbollah forces.

The Post also cites the London-based Arabic daily Al Sharq al Awsat reporting that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield has been working on a deal that would see, among other things, withdrawal of all Syrian and non-Syrian militias to 20-25 km from the Jordanian border; the Syrian government has proposed arrangements to allow local councils to govern in Syrian Golan, and revival of the 1974 agreement allowing UN peacekeepers to patrol the DMZ between Israel and Syria.

Part of this, at least, seems to be confirmed by Sputnik International.

“All areas on the (southern) border will be transferred to the government of Syria, an agreement on the UN Zone for Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) will be resumed on the Golan Heights, the presence of Iranian forces in the border areas is not stipulated,”

a source “familiar with the situation” said.