The presence of Iran and its military allies in Syria would not be tolerated. This stance has once again been reiterated by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his phone conversation with Vladimir Putin on June, 16.
The situation in this Arab country has been closely monitored by the Israeli military who took preemptive steps in Galilee and in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights to bolster national security. Benjamin Netanyahu also notified Mr. Putin that the Israeli Army was ready to launch a massive attack against any military groups in the south of Syria if they target the territory of Israel.
We should not forget, though, that Syrian political and military leadership has decided to conduct military operation in the south of Syria to disarm some military units of the Syrian opposition, along with several other Islamist groups affiliated to ISIS and former Jabhat-al nusra, which are banned in Russia. The Syrian army has blocked the bases of anti-government forces in Dara’a and Al-Quneitra provinces but stopped short of full-scale military action. The forces involved in the operation include the Syrian 4th Armored Division together with the Iranian volunteer troops, Shiite militia formations from Iraq, Lebanon and other Muslim states, whose soldiers allegedly wear the Syrian Army uniform.
On June, 17 Benjamin Netanyahu made phone calls to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, to voice his concern about the delay in carrying out the agreement that had been reached by Russia, US and Jordan to create a de-escalation zone in the southern part of Syria. The agreement also provided for the withdrawal of all Iranian military units and foreign militias from the de-escalation zone.
The US reaction to Israeli complaints was brisk. The Pentagon said it was ready to strike the Syrian Army as soon as it attacks Syrian opposition strongholds in the south of the country.
On the 18th of June Russian Maj.- General Vladimir Ivanchenkov, commander of the Russian military police corps in Syria, came to Tel Aviv to discuss the status quo and various scenarios of military and political situation in Syria and decide on ways to coordinate joint effort to prevent further conflict escalation in the region.
Israel supports the deployment of the Russian military police units in Dara’a Province, something the Syrian opposition has been asking for. The Israeli government also insists on placing the territory of the occupied Golan Heights’ foothills and Jordan borderline area under control of the Syrian government forces - something that the Syrian opposition and other Islamist forces have vehemently opposed.
Thus, the implementation of the three-party agreements reached in Amman between the US, Russia, Jordan with Israeli unofficial involvement, has been hampered by the Syrian opposition which claimed it would not hesitate to take up arms to prevent the Syrian government’s forces coming to the region.
The future of the conflict will be defined by further multilateral consultations. The Syrian Army officers have stepped up their actions aimed at deepening rifts inside the Syrian opposition and creating discord between the Syrian opposition and Islamist groups.
Having said that, the military presence of Iran and its allies in the south of Syria remains the major problem. According to some Arab military analysts, Tehran might use the current situation for staging provocations against the Israeli military deployed at the Golan Heights.