US echoes Israel’s alarm over Iranian influence in Syria

The US shares Israel’s desire to counter Iran’s reach in Syria.   

The US is working with Israel to address Iran’s widening sphere of influence in southern Syria near Israel’s northern border, a White House official told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

“Both governments – the United States and Israel – are rightly concerned about Iran’s malign influence in the region,” the official said. “A core goal of US policy in Syria is to ensure that no vacuum is created which Iran can fill.”

The official’s statements follow opposition voiced by Israel to a US-Russia brokered ceasefire in southern Syria, which Israel predicts will enable Iranian forces to gain a stronghold near Israel’s borders.

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on the ceasefire during their meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg last week. The deal includes establishing de-escalation zones along Syria’s borders with Jordan and Israel.

In a report on Monday, Ha’aretz quoted a senior Israeli official who said Jerusalem remains wary of Iran’s expanding presence in Syria. Iran seeks installation of military forces and the establishment of an airbase and a naval base.

To that end, Russian Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Konstantin Kosachev, urged the US to hold “comprehensive” talks with Israel related to Syria.

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“Possibly, it would be reasonable for Washington to hold comprehensive negotiations with its key ally in the Middle East on maintenance of truce, which is critical for the development of peaceful process in Syria,” Kosachev posted on his Facebook page, Sputnik news reported on Tuesday.

He opined that Israel’s concerns would not be sufficient grounds to revoke the ceasefire, recommending that Israel find a way “to live with this” instead of opposing the ceasefire.

He also accused Israel of opposing the ceasefire deal because it limited its abilities to operate in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the interests of Israel’s security were fully taken into account, Russia’s Tass news reported.

Critics of the deal argue that Russia and Iran may be using the ceasefire to consolidate their gains and launch new offensives.

It is unclear how long the ceasefire will last, if at all. Previous ceasefires have collapsed fairly quickly and failed to halt the violence in Syria.

By: World Israel News Staff