Liberman, after visit, says Russian Federation understands Israel's security concerns

Minnie Murray
June 2, 2018

Syrian President Bashar Assad threatened to attack a region held by US -backed Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria, saying in an interview broadcast on Russia Today channel on Thursday that American troops should leave the country.

Assad said the public opinion around the world didn't buy the Western narrative about the chemical weapons' use by the government forces, noting that the West couldn't back down on their allegations so they had to strike Syria, in reference to the US -led missile strikes on Syrian sites on April 14.

In an interview with Russia's state-owned Russia Today TV yesterday, Assad said the government opened doors for negotiations with the SDF, adding that if diplomacy fails, they will use force to retake the areas. "So, they had to do something, even on a smaller scale", Assad said, referring to the tripartite aggression by US, UK, and France against Syria on April 14.

Russian Federation said on Monday that only Syrian army troops should be at the southern border with Jordan and Israel, which has waged air strikes in Syria to curb what it fears is Iran's expanding influence.

"Any interested party in Syria should understand that attacking USA forces or our coalition partners will be a bad policy", General McKenzie said.

"They came to Iraq with no legal basis, and look what happened to them".

Israel has always opposed the nuclear deal with Iran, maintaining that it strengthens Iran's nuclear program rather than weakening it.

The Syrian army is now preparing for an offensive to recapture the parts of southwest Syria bordering Israel and Jordan that are still under rebel control, one of three significant areas outside the government's grip.

"What you say is what you are".

Officials do not believe that direct conflict between Israel, Iran and Syria will necessarily draw Lebanese militant group Hezbollah into the conflict.

Hariri pushed back against Assad's comments, stressing that Russian Federation and Iran had been fighting on behalf of Assad in the Syrian war, helping him retake considerable territory from rebels and Islamic groups.

Regarding the repetitive Israeli airstrikes on Syria and ways to stop them, Assad said that the foreign-backed "terrorists" have from the beginning aimed at destroying the Syrian air defenses.

Russian ally Assad initially embraced President Donald Trump's election, but US allegations that the Syrian leader was behind toxic gas attacks and subsequent USA airstrikes have split the two.

Political analyst Dana Weiss last night reported on recent contacts between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin, after Israeli and Russian security coordination reached a peak last Friday when the Russian Defense Minister called Defense Minister Liberman and invited him to Moscow next week.

With military backing from Russian Federation and Iran, he has reclaimed most of the territory lost to rebels in the wake of the popular uprising that swept the country in 2011 and quickly descended into all-out civil war. People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore, ' he said.

Behind Assad's evasions and bluster lies the unlovely truth that Russian and Iranian intervention appears to have secured his position in Damascus after years of bloody civil war.

Founded in 2015, the SDF says it is fighting to establish a democratic and federal Syria along the lines of the Rojava region in the north.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met with a delegation from the Syrian opposition, headed by the secretary-general of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Naser al-Hariri. During a visit to Moscow, Lieberman was due to address Iran's alleged increasing military presence in Syria, according to the Times of Israel.

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