BFF-57 US hopes Russia remains ‘permissive’ of Israel strikes in Syria

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US hopes Russia remains ‘permissive’ of Israel strikes in Syria

BEIRUT, Nov 7, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The US envoy to Syria said Wednesday he
hoped to see more of Damascus ally Moscow’s “permissive approach” to Israeli
air strikes on Iranian assets in the war-torn country.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighbouring Syria
against what it says are Iranian targets.

It accuses its arch-enemy Tehran, which like Moscow supports the Syrian
regime in the seven-year civil conflict, of seeking to entrench itself
militarily in the country.

“In the past Russia has been permissive in consultation with the Israelis
about Israeli strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria,” US envoy James
Jeffrey said.

“We certainly hope that that permissive approach will continue,” he told
journalists in a conference call.

His comments came after Syrian regime forces accidentally downed a Russian
plane during an Israeli air strike over Syria in September.

Moscow blamed the incident, which killed 15 Russians, on the Israeli plane
using the larger Russian one for cover, which Israel disputed.

Following the incident, Russia sent advanced air defence missiles to
Damascus.

But Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month told Russia his
country must continue to hit hostile targets in Syria to prevent Iran from
establishing a military presence across the border.

“We understand the existential interest and we support Israel,” Jeffrey
said.

Under President Donald Trump, the United States has withdrawn from a
landmark deal with Iran over its nuclear programme and reimposed crippling
sanctions on the Islamic republic.

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have regained large swathes of Syria
from rebels and jihadists since 2015.

In October, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a pro-Israel group
Washington would refuse any post-war reconstruction assistance to Syria if
Iran was present.

Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions more
since starting in 2011.

BSS/AFP/FI/ 2308 hrs