Israel’s request to force Iranian to withdraw its forces from entire Syria is unrealistic, Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov told Israel’s Channel Ten on July 30.
Viktorov emphasized that Iranians “are playing an important role in our common efforts towards extermination of terrorists in Syria”.
“That is why at this point we consider unrealistic any requests concerning withdrawal of any foreign forces from Syria,” he added. “We can speak with our Iranian partners very honestly and openly trying to persuade them to do or not to do anything.”
Responding to a question of the Israeli media, the diplomat noted that Russia cannot force Iran to withdraw from Syria. According to him, there is also an agreement that Syrian regular army will be present on the Syrian side of the contact line with Israel.
“We agreed that there will be only Syrian regular army units on the other side of the border [in Syria],” Viktorov said. “Ensuring Israel’s security in top priority. And these are not empty words for Russian foreign policy.”
After the talks with between Russian and Israeli top officials on July 23, the Israeli media speculated that Russia had proposed a 100km buffer zone without “Iranian forces” to Israel, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the proposal saying that all Iranian forces have to be withdrawn from Syria.
The July 30 remarks by Viktorov show that the real course of the Russian-Israeli negotiations was quite different to what the Israeli media wants to show.