US officials are in Israel to discuss security concerns regarding the new ceasefire in Syria.
By: World Israel News Staff
A team of US National Security Council (NSC) officials have arrived in Israel on Tuesday to discuss the new cease fire in southern Syria brokered by the US and Russia, which Israel says is endangering its security.
The Times of Israel reported that the team’s visit has been confirmed by US officials.
The US team is in Israel to discuss the ceasefire deal brokered by the US, Russia and Jordan, designed to reach a new cease-fire agreement in southern Syria that will create a “de-escalation zone” adjacent to Israel’s border, where Iran and Hezbollah, its terror proxy, will not be allowed to establish a presence.
Israel is apprehensive of the deal because it does allow anti-Israel forces to reach 7km (4.5 miles) from the border on the Golan Heights, a distance Jerusalem insists is not satisfactory for its security needs.
Haaretz reported that IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot secretly flew to Brussels on Thursday to meet with Gen. Curtiss Scaparrotti, head of the US army’s European Command, to discuss Iranian moves in Syria.
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.
Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi said Sunday that the agreement “does not answer Israel’s unequivocal demands that there will be no developments that bring Iranian or Hezbollah forces closer to Israel’s border with Syria in the north.”
Israeli media quoted a US official as saying that all non-Syrian fighters, including Iranian sponsored forces, would be expelled from the area near Israel’s border and eventually from all of Syria. He did not provide a timetable for the move.
Speaking to a special session of the Knesset on Monday, Netanyahu said he told Washington and Moscow that Israel will act according to its “security needs.”
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.”