Israel Wants US, Not Russia, to Control Deescalation Zones in Syria

Israel Wants US, Not Russia, to Control Deescalation Zones in Syria

Little is known about exactly what President Donald Trump will discuss with Russian leader Vladimir Putin when the two meet for the first time on Friday. Jordan and Israel are also part of the deal, the Associated Press reports, quoting an unnamed USA official.

According to the AP, the deal is separate from "de-escalation zones" that were part of an agreement among Russia, Turkey and Iran earlier this year that did not include the United States.

The Russians reportedly asked to be responsible for enforcing a cease-fire near the Israeli and Jordanian borders and for policing safe zones that would be established in the region but Israel was adamantly against it and asked that the USA be held responsible for monitoring the cease-fire instead, according to Haaretz.

Tillerson's position reflects a recognition that Syria's government, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, is emerging as the likely political victor in the country's six year long civil war.

The remarks offer the latest stop on a bumpy US policy ride that has left worldwide observers with a case of diplomatic whiplash as they try to figure out whether the Trump administration will insist that Assad step down from power.

The report added that Israeli officials have been on the sidelines of recent discussions between the United States and Russian Federation over the future of Syria.

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The Trump administration has grappled with a strategy on how to deal with Syria once Islamic State is pushed out of its territory.

Russia's Alexander Lavrentiev said on Wednesday that documents outlining how the four zones should work "need finalising" despite being "essentially agreed" between the three key powerbrokers, after two days of negotiations in Kazakhstan.

The three countries have been successfully mediating talks between the Syrian government and opposition in the Kazakh capital of Astana since January. Syrian government forces and its allies will stay on one side of an agreed demarcation line, and rebel fighters will stick to the other side.

Tillerson said Washington and Moscow had "unresolved" differences on several issues but "have the potential to appropriately coordinate in Syria in order to produce stability and serve our mutual security interests".

The statement made no mention of Assad regime's future.

Ahead of the July 7 meeting between the Russian and American presidents, Tillerson insisted that Russia has a "special responsibility" to aid the peace process. Up to now, Assad has rejected any proposals that would see him leave power, contributing to an impasse that has prolonged Syria's suffering.

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