Russia gives Israel ‘green light’ to strike Iranian targets in Syria

Israel and Russia have reached an understanding on pulling Iranian militias out of southern Syria regions of Daraa and Quneitra near Israel’s Golan Heights, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat reported Friday.

According to the paper, the understandings were reached after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the telephone, while Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had held talks with his Russian counterpart.

According to the report, which was attributed to both Russian and Israeli officials, the sides agreed it was necessary to remove Iranian forces from southern Syria and allow Israel to freely attack targets it deems a threat – on the condition that these are not sites tied to the regime of the dictator Bashar Assad, which Russia supports.

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At a meeting on Thursday afternoon with his Russian counterpart, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, Liberman discussed the reduction of the Iranian presence in Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday Iranian ‘advisers’ and Hezbollah troops will be withdrawing from the southern regions of Daraa and Quneitra near the Golan Heights.

Later, the Kremlin said Putin had a call with Netanyahu to discuss the situation in Syria. The Kremlin said the conversation focused on “some aspects of the Syrian settlement,” which it didn’t specify, following up on the two leaders’ talks in Moscow earlier this month.