Iran’s Potential Role In Enforcing Zones Along Israeli Border Raises Concerns

Russia, Turkey and Iran are to map out the specific zones by June 4th.

Netanyahu:  “With the framework of these arrangements, and also without them, there is an Iranian effort to become firmly established on a permanent basis in Syria, either through the presence of ground forces, or naval forces,” Netanyahu said. He also said the Syrians are involved in a “gradual attempt to open up a front against us on the Golan Heights.” JPost

Iran’s potential role in enforcing a security zone in southern Syria has raised concerns for Israel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said Tuesday.

Under the terms of an agreement signed last week in Astana, Turkey, several large areas of western and southern Syria would become protected areas where the use of weapons, including airstrikes, would be prohibited. Russia, Iran and Turkey would be empowered to “take all necessary measures” to enforce the peace in these zones, including attacks inside those areas against Nusra Front, al-Qaida or ISIS.

One of the zones would be in southern Syria in rebel-held territory along the Israeli-Syrian border by the Golan Heights.

Dunford, who was traveling in Israel this week to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top defense officials, said Israel is concerned about the possibility of having Iranian or Iranian-backed forces, such as Hezbollah, so close to its border….

Israel has supported the rebel presence along its border, providing field hospitals to maintain a buffer between it and the Iranian and Hezbollah-backed Assad regime, said Anthony Cordesman, a senior Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Cordesman said that Israel may endorse security zones to bring stability to Syria, but it’s unlikely to agree to any limits that would keep it from protecting interests in southern Syria or striking shipments.

Cordesman questioned whether the agreement would move forward.  Stars & Stripes

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