Israel, Syria officials discuss removal of Iran and its militias from Syria: Report

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Israel’s demand to remove Iran and its militias from Syria was discussed by Syrian and Israeli officials last month at the Russian Hmeimim base in Syria’s Latakia, according to the Syrian Bridges Center for Studies.

According to the report, the meeting included the Director of Syria’s National Security Office Major General Ali Mamlouk, Security Advisor at the Syrian Palace Bassam Hassan, Israel’s former chief of staff of the Israeli army Gadi Eisenkot and former Mossad general Ari bin Menashe. Alexander Tchaikov, the commander of the Russian forces in Syria, was also present at the meeting.

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Observers and international affairs experts have been monitoring Russia’s work as a mediator between Syria and Israel in recent weeks. Sources have confirmed that Israeli army has been informing the Russians of airstrikes on Syria beforehand. After the recent “Abraham Accords” peace deals between Israel and Arab states, some have speculated that Syria may be next, despite Iranian presence on its soil, after multiple Syrian officials openly discussed the possibility of peace after negotiations.

The center said that the Syrian delegation requested facilitating the return to the Arab League and obtaining financial aid to pay off Iranian debts along with stopping western sanctions to open the way for Syria to expel Iran.

The center added that Israeli demands included “completely removing Iran, Hezbollah and Tehran's militias and forming a government that includes the opposition, restructuring the security and military establishment.”

The center added that the meeting did not conclude with specific agreements, but that it constituted the beginning of a path that Russia is pushing toward and is expected to witness a major expansion in 2021.

The report added that Moscow believes that building a direct relationship between the regime and Israel could constitute a lifeline for the regime and obtain international support for its political project in Syria.

Last Tuesday, Israel, with US support, launched the heaviest raids on Iranian and Syrian sites in northeastern Syria.

The Israeli army announced in its annual report for 2020 that it carried out 50 air strikes on targets in Syria and launched more than 500 missiles and smart missiles during the past year, with the aim of preventing Iran's positioning in Syria.

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