Russian Envoy: Deal Reached to Remove Iranian Forces From Golan

Syrian forces loyal to Assad attack refugee camp in Damascus

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says Iran has no military presence or bases in his country but Iranian military advisors are there to help Damascus fight terrorist groups.

While Israel has asserted that Iran has bases in Syria - including one that was used to fly a drone into Israel in February - and that it has trained 80,000 militia in Syria, Assad asserted to Russia Today that "we never had" Iranian troops. Russian Federation says "foreign forces" will leave.

"But they (US and Israel) should know that this condition is not going to change", he told the news agency. At the same time, he stressed that the Syrian government would conduct any negotiations about the future of the Syrian territories only with other Syrian forces and not with any foreign powers, be it the United States or Turkey. "We don't have any other options, with the Americans or without the Americans", he said.

"This is our land, it's our right, it's our duty to liberate [these areas], and the Americans should leave", he told RT earlier this week. "They have to learn the lesson. People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore".

In May, head of the Syrian government delegation to the Astana peace talks Bashar Jaafari called the USA military presence in al-Tanf and nearby Rukban refugee camp in the south of the country as "pure aggression and occupation".

The SDF, dominated by the militia of a self-proclaimed Kurdish autonomous administration, has air support from the US-led coalition against IS and backing from U.S. and French special forces on the ground.

Elsewhere, Shamkhani said that Iran considers Syria's security as its own and that "stability in Syria is an achievement for Iran".

Syria's air defences were much stronger than before, thanks to Russian Federation, he added.

Months after an alleged chemical attack by government forces prompted US President Donald Trump to call the Syrian president "Animal Assad" in a tweet, Assad said he had no nickname for Trump.

The SDF wants a "democratic system based on diversity, equality, freedom, and justice" for all the country's ethnic and religious groups, he said in a voice message to Reuters. To start, being forced to withdraw from Syria would be a major blow to Iran's prestige at a moment when its economy is bracing for crippling sanctions following America's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Reports say Israel would like to see a deal in which initially Iran would be pushed back 40-50 miles from the border and eventually compelled to leave Syria altogether.

Scores of Iranian soldiers have been killed in battles with insurgents in Syria, including a number of officers.

On top of the direct move to get Iran off the border, Russian Federation is also promising to issue a statement criticizing Iran for fueling tensions with Israel, and will push Syria not to too closely back Iran in this ongoing rivalry.

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