Report: Hezbollah Pulls Back from Southern Syria

YERUSHALAYIM -

A Syrian war-monitor group said on Thursday that Hezbollah forces in Syria were withdrawing some 25 miles from the border with Israel, at the behest of Russia.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights cited “reliable sources” for its report, which said that Iran, however, was not going along with the Russian request. It said that Tehran refused to do so, unless there is a corresponding pullout of U.S. and international coalition forces from the al-Tanf base on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The Observatory also said that the Russians have given the go-ahead to the Jordanians and Americans to hold talks with “factions” to reach an agreement on south Syria. But it was unclear which groups would be involved.

Israel initially sought for a pullback of Iranian and proxy forces to at least 50 miles from its border. However, in recent weeks, it has demanded that hostile forces be removed from all of Syria.

On Wednesday, the head of the IDF Northern Command, Major General Yoel Strick, was quoted by Ynet as saying: “Iran is trying to make Syria a territory under its control, and is using bases on Syrian soil to attack Israel and destabilize the security of the entire region.”