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Syria’s southern de-escalation zone in focus of Israeli talks with Russia, envoy says

However what matters most is Iran’s presence in Syria, the ambassador stressed

MOSCOW, September 26. /TASS/. The southern de-escalation zone in Syria and Iran’s presence in that country are among central topics in Israel’s contacts with Russia, Israeli Ambassador to Moscow Harry Koren said on Tuesday.

"The southern zone [of de-escalation in Syria] is probably in the center of these discussions between Israel and Russia," he told journalists. 

"But what matters most is not kilometers but Iran’s presence in Syria in general and especially in its southern part."

"[Iran’s] current authorities hold a radically negative position against Israel," he said. "They are indulging in endless demonstration of weapons accompanied by calls to eliminate the State of Israel. What are we supposed to think about ‘friendliness’ of the Iranian leader in such circumstances?"

In May, the Syrian ceasefire guarantor nations, namely Russia, Iran and Turkey, signed a memorandum on de-escalation zones in Syria. As of today, three such zones - in southwestern Syria, in Eastern Ghouta (a Damascus suburb) and around the city of Homs - are already functioning. The fourth one embraces the province of Idlib and parts of the neighboring Aleppo, Latakia and Hama provinces.

The southern de-escalation zone began functioning from July 9 as a result of agreements between Russia, the United States and Jordan.