Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Russia: UN peacekeepers back on Golan Heights-Syria frontier

Russia: UN peacekeepers back on Golan Heights-Syria frontier

Israeli jets also reportedly targeted Iranian military assets stationed in the Arab republic, killing Iranian military personnel south of Damascus and sparking outrage from Tehran. On Thursday, Russia's defense ministry announced a joint operation with United Nations peacekeepers to keep watch over the Golan Heights region.

President Bashar al-Assad's sweeping away of rebels in southwestern Syria has anxious Israel, which last week downed a Syrian warplane that it said breached a Golan buffer zone and warned Iranian forces backing him against deploying there. It makes sense for Israel to view the war that way from their perspective, bordering southern Syria.

In a separate development, according to media reports, Russian Federation is planning to deploy military police on the Golan Heights frontier between Syria and Israel and set up eight observation posts. "Once the situation has been stabilized, these posts will be handed over to personnel from the Syrian government forces".

Syrian rebel fighters and government forces have clashed in the area, though President Bashar al-Assad has regained control of late.

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Netanyahu repeatedly traveled to Moscow and often called President Vladimir Putin to discuss the creation of a buffer zone free of Iranian forces along the border with Syria on the Golan Heights and later demanded Russian Federation would ensure Iran would withdraw from Syria completely. Lieberman reiterated Israel's demand that Iran not set up military bases against it in Syria, and that Syria not be used to smuggle arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Two days later another Russian diplomat contradicted Viktorov and claimed Iranian forces had pulled out to 85 kilometer from the Israeli border. He said a preliminary assessment was that the infiltrators were Islamic State militants.

The escalation of hostilities is justified by Israel by the presence of Iran-linked troops in south-western Syria which, Israeli officials say, pose a threat to the national security of the Jewish state. The army's announcement came shortly after Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman toured a Patriot missile defense battery in northern Israel during a military preparedness drill.

Jordan has been in discussions with Russian authorities, Safadi said, and will respond to Syria's request "positively" in a way that supports Jordanian and Syrian interests.

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