Only Syrian army should have presence in south, say Russian Federation and Israel

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that only Syrian regime forces should be permitted to have a presence on the country's southern border with Israel, Russia's RIA news reported.

Syrian rebels now hold areas in Daraa province close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Jordan.

Russian Federation is also backing Assad's regime in Syria and Netanyahu has held a series of recent discussions with President Vladimir Putin on Iran's presence there.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Lavrov said the withdrawal of non-Syrian forces from the "de-escalation area" should be done on a "mutual basis" as part of a "two-way street". "The situation, when only representatives of the Syrian armed forces will be deployed on the Syrian side of the border with Israel, should become the outcome of such work", Lavrov said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported Syrian army movements into the south and state media have reported leaflet drops on rebel-held areas there urging insurgents to accept government rule, two signs a military offensive may be coming.

The area has been held under a ceasefire, but has recently been tense following a series of recent Israeli strikes on Syrian and Iranian forces.

In a report published on Monday by the Syrian opposition newspaper Zaman al-Wasl the commander of the Syrian Air Force said that Syria will no longer allow Iranian-backed forces to use its ammunition and host fighters.

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On Monday last week, Iran rejected remarks made by Russia's President Vladimir Putin suggesting that foreign countries should be withdrawn from the Syria following a political settlement interpreted to be referring to Iran, as well as American and Turkish forces.

For the negotiations, Iran's ambassador to Jordan, Mostafa Moslehzadeh, stayed in a hotel room with Iranian security personnel next door to a room of senior Israeli security officials, including the deputy head of Mossad, Elaph reported.

Iran's IRNA news agency said that the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that the reports about nine Iranian military officials being killed in the attack were "a sheer lie and quite baseless".

Jordan said on Monday it was discussing developments in southern Syria with Washington and Moscow and that all three parties agreed on the need to preserve the "de-escalation" zone they brokered a year ago and which has reduced violence.

On Sunday in his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu pledged to continue Israel's campaign against the "aggression" of Iran, stating that he will "prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons" as well as the "establishment of an Iranian military in Syria against us".

The increased tensions between the Iranian forces in Syria and Israel began in early February when an Iranian drone that had infiltrated Israeli airspace was shot down by an Israeli Air Force aircraft.

Elaph sources said Iran understood that its heavy losses in Syria resulted from Israeli attacks in the country.

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