Russia’s Syria Envoy: Iranian Forces Remain 80 km Away from Israeli Border

"We have reached an agreement with our Iranian friends that certain units that have been there [at the Syrian border with Israel] in order to ensure the security of the southern de-escalation zone will be transferred to a safe distance, from 75 to 80 kilometers. They fulfill their promises," Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev told Sputnik News.

Last July, Iran agreed to move its forces in Syria away from the border with Israel by 85 kilometers, which significantly reduced Israeli concerns, according to the presidential envoy. The recent statement by US President Donald Trump on the US recognition of the Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights could have made Tehran change its decision.    

Lavrentyev also noted that while the idea to create an international working group on foreign troop withdrawal from Syria remains in place, the stabilization of the Arab country must come first.

"There was an idea to create this group in order to contribute to the Syrian crisis settlement and the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Syrian territory… Perhaps, it would be righteous to make effort toward withdrawal of all the foreign [forces] from Syria, but to do this, a strong Syria is needed. The situation in Syria should be stabilized, and all the terrorist groups should be eliminated," Lavrentyev said.

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