In Jordan, Israel and Iran secretly negotiate future of Syria

In Jordan, Israel and Iran secretly negotiate future of Syria

Government forces recently dropped leaflets on rebel-held areas in Daraa, warning of an imminent offensive and urging anti-Assad fighters to lay down their arms.

The understanding was reached and finalized in a discussion last Friday between Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. "We believe that there is no place for any Iranian military presence, anywhere in Syria".

The move comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to discuss Iran with several European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, next week. It stressed that the Syrian army was determined to retake all parts of Syria.

Israel has warned it will not tolerate a permanent Iranian military presence in Syria.

In addition to violence inside Syria, Daraa's location on the border of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights makes any operation there highly sensitive.

Israel is increasingly optimistic that it may be coming close to its longheld goal of driving a wedge between Russian Federation and Iran in Syria, a senior Israeli official said today.

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Moscow, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's ally, brokered a string of de-escalation zones for insurgent enclaves a year ago, though fighting raged on in some. "I think they understand that if the Iranians continue on the present course this will lead to escalation and will blow their plans out of the water".

Rebels hold stretches of that area and intensive Israeli airstrikes in Syria this month were prompted by what Israel said was Iranian rocket fire from the area into the Golan Heights.

According to the report, the understandings were ‎reached in a series of indirect meetings in Jordan, ‎where Iranian officials, including the envoy to ‎Jordan, met with top Jordanian officials, who in turn ‎met with senior Israeli security officials.‎.

Over the weekend, Iran and Israel also reportedly engaged in indirect negotiations over fighting in Daraa, according to a report on Saudi-owned news site Elaph.

In recent days, Israel and Iran are said to have passed a large number of messages via Jordan regarding the situation in Syria.

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