Iran has no combat troops or 'fixed' bases in Syria: foreign minister

Iran has no combat troops or 'fixed' bases in Syria: foreign minister

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday that Iranian advisers and Hezbollah fighters will be withdrawing from the southern regions of Daraa and Quneitra near Israel's Golan Heights.

"Don't believe anything that is said about an agreement on the south until you see that the United States has withdrawn its forces from the At-Tanaf base", he said.

Israel has repeatedly vowed to prevent Iran establishing a permanent presence in Syria and Lebanon and has carried out dozens of air strikes against Iran-backed forces and attempts to smuggle advanced weapons to Hezbollah.

"Iran's presence does not exist in a military manner on the ground in Syria - these are tales told by Israel".

The Arab newspaper also reported that Jerusalem political sources said that Israel and Russian Federation have reached an understanding that would let the Assad forces to take back control over the southern part of the country, near the border area, in exchange for an evacuation of the Iranian forces.

"The U.S. presence in Syria is illegitimate and they should withdraw from al-Tanf and any other area in Syria", he noted.

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Earlier this year, Syrian government forces managed to drive militants out of all territories near the capital Damascus.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said foreign militias should leave southwestern Syria as soon as possible, state media outlet TASS reported.

However London-based, Saudi owned Al-Sharq Al-Sawat quoted "Russian sources" as saying that Israel was given the okay to continue attacks on Iranian targets deep inside Syria, as long as regime facilities were not hit.

Next week, Netanyahu will leave for France and Germany to discuss Iran's role in Syria and the nuclear deal which the Europeans are trying to salvage after the USA withdrawal earlier this month.

Over the years, Israel has watched as different groups in southern Syria came to control different parts of the area near the Golan border.

"Unlike the American military forces and the regional reactionaries, the Iranian advisers are present in Syria at the request of the Syrian government and people", Jazayeri told Tasnim.

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President Vladimir Putin has spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu about proposed talks.

Mr Assad, who is backed by Russian Federation and Iran, appears militarily unassailable in the war that has killed an estimated half a million people, uprooted around 6 million people in the country, and driven another 5 million overseas as refugees.

The Syrian foreign minister further said that the government had communicated with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) but no negotiation process had started. "We strongly support Russia's effort for removing terrorists from the Syria-Jordan border and restoring Syrian army control over the region".

Mr Assad said Iran's presence in Syria was limited to officers assisting the army.

Iran's top security official says there is a link between Israel's stepped-up threats against Tehran and the defeat of Takfiri terrorists in Iraq and Syria, which has made Tel Aviv angry.

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