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United States delegation headed to Israel to discuss Syria border deal

15 November 2017, 12:27 | Darnell Patrick

United States delegation headed to Israel to discuss Syria border deal

GPO  Channel 2 News

Israel's attorney general has said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife will be summoned for a hearing in January on suspicion of using state funds for personal expenditures.

Meanwhile, a a delegation from the US National Security Council was reported to have arrived in Israel for talks with security heads about the ceasefire agreement, Israeli media outlets reported.

A U.S. -Russian statement Saturday affirmed an understanding calling for "the reduction and ultimate elimination" of foreign fighters.

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.

Netanyahu's remarks follow that of the country's regional cooperation minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who expressed similar sentiment a day earlier.

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told reporters Sunday that the agreement "does not meet Israel's unequivocal demand that there will not be developments that bring the forces of Hezbollah or Iran to the Israel-Syria border in the north". Those have targeted suspected Hezbollah or Iranian arms depots, or have been in retaliation for shelling from the Syrian-held Golan Heights.

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Meanwhile, a USA government official said Monday that Russian Federation agreed "to work with the Syrian regime to remove Iranian-backed forces to a defined distance" from the Golan Heights border with Israel.

Israeli media quoted a USA 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.

Those distances would range from as little as 5km-7km up to around 30km, depending on current rebel positions on the Syrian Golan, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Pressed by a reporter as to how exactly the Russians would convince the Iranians to withdraw from Syria entirely, the official described the memorandum as having "kind of extended that (earlier) progress to really turn the area into a de-escalation area", before reiterating that U.S. policy remains committed to a Syria "free of Iran, free of Hezbollah, free of all these militias that the Iranians have imported".

"I think that this growing closeness and consultation is first and foremost good for security and ultimately for peace", he added.



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