On Saturday, the Israeli media started disseminating reports that the US and Russia have reached an agreement, which would push Iranian-backed forces from an area close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The reports appeared on the same day when Russia and the US issued a joint statement on Syria after a brief conversation between Trump and Putin on the sideline of the APEC conference in Vietnam.
The released statement does not refer directly to Iran, Iranian-backed forces or Hezbollah and indeed includes nothing new about the attitudes of the sides.
The Israeli media reports are likely another move in the ongoing media campaign against the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance after Tel Aviv failed to achieve the Russian support in limiting the Shia influence in Syria. Even if Moscow wants to make some trade-off with Israel, it has own limitations in this effort. The conflict is deeply integrated into the military and diplomatic standoff in the Middle East. The region is on the verge of the war, which may involve Israel, Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah and Iran.
Last weekend, the BBC released a report claiming that Iran is establishing permanent military base inside Syria. It’s located outside El-Kiswah, 14 km south of Damascus. Israel has repeatedly claimed that it “will not let that happen.” However, the only Israeli option to fulfill this promise is a military action.