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US Officials In Israel To Discuss Iran's Presence In Syria

US Officials In Israel To Discuss Iran's Presence In Syria

Netanyahu has also been outspoken about opposing Iran, claiming the Islamist nation to be a grave threat to the entire region.

This weekend, a devastating quake rocked parts of Iran and Iraq. The deal does not include a timetable for the evacuation of Iran's forces practically on Israel's borders.

On November 11, a Western security official told the BBC that Iran is establishing a permanent base south of Damascus, 30 miles from the Israeli border.

The reason for this move, according to Reuters, citing an Israeli official, is to separate between rival factions inside Syria.

Israel has long complained about the involvement of archenemy Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah in Syria. In Washington, a USA official confirmed its authenticity, but said the deal was only preliminary and still subject to changes.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel was ready to act alone if necessary to prevent Iran from turning Syria into its military base. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

Earthquake devastation
Earthquake devastation

Israel has been carrying out occasional airstrikes against Syrian army positions.

"We maintain absolute freedom of action and the only considerations that guide us are the security considerations of Israel..."

The issue of the Iranian military presence on the Israeli borders received additional boost last week after Jordan, Russia and the United States signed a memorandum, stipulating withdrawal of foreign forces from south-western Syria.

Iran's presence in Syria is vastly overstated at any rate and rests on the assumption that all of the Shia militias fighting alongside Assad in Syria, militias which come from all over the world, are "Iranian" forces, as opposed to just combatants in the sectarian conflict.

A US State Department official has said Russian Federation had agreed " to work with the Syrian regime to remove Iranian-backed forces a defined distance" from the Golan Heights frontier with Israel, which captured the plateau in the 1967 Middle East war.


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