Iran-backed forces withdraw from Southern Syria

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Well-informed military sources said on Friday that Iranian forces and Lebanese Hezbollah militias have begun withdrawing from areas in Southern Syria and Daraa.

The military source said that only a small number of forces are left behind and are expected to continue their withdrawal in the coming few days.

Iran’s withdrawal comes in response to Israeli demands and as a prelude to a Russian deal that could allow Assad’s forces to control the southern border in exchange for Iran’s removal.

For his part, the head of the Syrian negotiating delegation, Nasr Hariri, called in an interview with Hadath TV channel, for the need to unite the Syrians to demand the removal of Iranian militias, considering it a danger to all components of the Syrian people, including supporters of the regime.

Hariri also called on Russia to help resume the Syrian negotiations if it is really keen to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

The situation in the Syrian south was the subject of talks between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Schweigo and his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman in Moscow.

Russian sources indicated that the two sides have established an understanding on the situation based on the exit of the Iranian militias from the region and gave Israel a green light to launch military operations inside Syrian territory.

A Russian source told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that Moscow’s silence on its discussions with Israel is aimed at balancing Russia’s relations with both the Israelis and the Iranians.

The source said that the available data indicate a Russian-Israeli understanding of an Iranian withdrawal to a depth of more than 20 kilometers from the border area in Southern Syria.