Report: Russia Offers Deal to Get Iran Out of Syria

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu disclosed to a closed session of the Knesset committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense that Russia offered a deal whereby it would see to it that Iran vacates its armed forces from Syria, in return for lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia after the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear accord.

Three Knesset members present at the session were quoted by Channel 10 as sources of the story.

Until now, Russia has sought to placate Israel with promises of keeping the Iranians at a safe distance from the Israeli Golan Heights. But Israel has not been satisfied, and has continued air strikes at Iranian bases in Syria, which has resulted in friction with Russia. This would be the first time Russia has proposed total withdrawal of Iranian forces from the country, linked to relaxation of sanctions.

The MKs added that PM Netanyahu spoke positively of his most recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, though it was not clear if the deal was suggested at that meeting.

The Russian embassy in Israel refused to comment on the report.

A senior U.S. State Department official would only say that they are working with other countries toward a solution to the situation in Syria, but could not elaborate.