x

Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Russia: foreign forces must quit Syria's southern border

Intensive air strikes in Syria this month were prompted by what Tel Aviv said was Iranian fire from the area

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov prepares to take a questions during a news conference in Moscow on May 14, 2018. Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov prepares to take a questions during a news conference in Moscow on May 14, 2018. Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that all non-Syrian forces should withdraw from Syria’s southern border with Israel as soon as possible, the TASS news agency reported on Wednesday.

Rebels control stretches of southwest Syria, bordering the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, while Syrian army troops and allied Iran-backed militias — including Lebanon's Hezbollah — hold nearby territory.

Intensive air strikes in Syria this month were prompted by what Tel Aviv said was Iranian fire from the area, which also borders Jordan.

Russia and Iran are close allies of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Read more: Russia, US, Jordan to meet in Syria amid tensions

Mr Lavrov has said on Monday that only Syrian government troops should have a presence in Syria’s southern border, after Washington warned of “firm and appropriate” measures over truce violations in the region.

US, Russia and Jordan have agreed to hold a meeting on Syria’s southern de-escalation zone, which they brokered last year and which has reduced violence.