21:56 GMT +319 August 2017
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    Israel Wants US, Not Russia, to Control Deescalation Zones in Syria - Reports

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    Israel opposes Russian military forces overseeing deescalation zones in southern Syria near its borders, and wants US troops to control ceasefire there, and additionally hopes that talks on these zones will be separated from the negotiations on Syrian settlement in Astana, in which Iran and Turkey participate, local media reported Friday.

    TEL-AVIV (Sputnik) Senior Israeli politicians held talks on safe zone issues with US special envoy for the global coalition to counter Islamic State (terrorist group outlawed in Russia) Brett McGurk, telling him Israel would prefer to have US troops rather than Russian troops controlling Syrian deescalation zones, and US President Donald Trump's administration is already considering this idea, but has not made any decision yet, Haaretz newspaper reported, citing three sources involved in the talks.

    Israel voiced three main demands upon the US envoy: the separation of safe zone talks from the Astana talks; keeping Iran, Hezbollah and other Shiite militias away from the Israeli and Jordanian borders; and not playing any active role in controlling safe zones near its border.

    "We’re in close contact with the Americans and they understand our positions and our concerns very well. We made it clear to the Americans and other parties that we want to see the entire package relating to the deescalation zones, not just a few details, and then we can decide what our position is," one of the officials said, as quoted by the newspaper.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump are expected to meet for the first time later Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit to discuss key issues of the international agenda, including cooperation in the settlement of the Syrian crisis. On Thursday, Putin discussed the fight against terrorism and the situation in Syria with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a telephone conversation.

    Related:

    Two of 4 Syria Deescalation Zones Agreed on in Astana
    End of Fighting in Syria's South Crucial for Deescalation in Whole Country
    Damascus Fears Deescalation Zones May Facilitate Foreign Intervention in Syria
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    de-escalation, Israel, Syria, United States, Russia
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