Netanyahu: Israel will welcome 'genuine cease-fire' in Syria


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by aides, on a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 6.

Syrian state media outlet SANA reported that forces loyal to the Syrian government "re-established full control over strategic villages, towns, hills, and points" on Monday afternoon.

Instead, the area is dominated by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups, many of whom - including the al-Qaeda-affiliated group formerly known as the Nusra Front - are not backed by the US.

But Syria's neighbors suspect that Iran is pursuing a broader agenda, including carving out a land route through Syria that would create a territorial continuum from Iran and Iraq to Lebanon. -Russian ceasefire agreement, which went into effect on Sunday afternoon, is holding aside from some "teething problems", by which he meant a bit of light artillery shelling here and there.

This would prevent further advances by forces under Iran's command, including Lebanon's Hezbollah militia. The Saudis have become distracted by their inconclusive military intervention in Yemen, while the Saudi-Qatari dispute has ended cooperation between those two oil monarchies in Syria and elsewhere.

The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, welcomed the truce but said it should not be used to push refugees back into Syria until they are ready.

"This deal has the weight of the Trump team behind it and it is a big step forward to enacting one of the president Trump foreign policy promises during his campaign for election, which was to build safe zones in Syria", said Nicholas Heras, Middle East security fellow at the Washington-based Centre for a New American Security, and an analyst at the Jamestown Foundation, also based in Washington.

Cease-fires have repeatedly collapsed in Syria's six-year-old civil war, and it's not clear if this one will last. An ongoing attempt to create a de-escalation zone in the north in collaboration with Iran and Turkey, Syria's northern neighbor, has already somewhat reduced the violence there.

Qasemi said Iran is in contact with Russia on the agreement and a Russian delegation will arrive in Tehran for detailed discussions on the deal.

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Israel frequently coordinates with Russian Federation to avoid clashes over Syria when it carries out periodic airstrikes on Hizbullah weapon convoys.

But this truce was the first to be announced by the Trump administration.

"This was quickly negotiated by the diplomatic community", a Pentagon official noted. In June, hostilities escalated again when American forces shot down a Syrian government warplane that attacked US -allied militias on the ground eastern Syria. "The key question here is what kind of influence is Russian Federation willing to bring to bear on the regime and on the Iranians to keep them quiet?"

"No agreement would ever materialize without considering the realities on the ground in Syria and the region", he stressed.

Israel is also anxious about the recent movements of Iranian-backed forces.

According to Lavrentiev, the sixth round may be held earlier than scheduled if conditions for making decisions on the establishment of the de-escalation zones arise.

The United States remains committed to defeating ISIS, helping to end the conflict in Syria, reducing suffering, and enabling people to return to their homes.

"A constitution is something that, in the long run, should reflect all concerns of all ethnic, religious and political groups in Syria and that is to ensure balance of interests of each of these groups", he said, adding that this is the only way to ensure "sustainable functioning" of the Syrian state and guarantee it "from both new political crises" and from becoming "a nest of terrorist and other threats".