Russia: Iran-backed forces withdraw from Golan frontier

August 01, 2018 - 7:30 am

BEIRUT (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy to Syria says Iran-backed fighters have withdrawn more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Syria's frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in order not to "irritate" Israel.

Alexander Lavrentyev told the Russian Interfax news agency on Wednesday that an agreement was reached "with Russian guarantees," without elaborating. Russian-backed Syrian forces regained full control of the frontier on Monday.

Israel has escalated its attacks against targets inside Syria suspected of being linked to Iran, insisting that it won't allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence near the frontier. Iran has military advisers in Syria and backs Shiite militias fighting alongside Syrian troops.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights in the 1967 Mideast war. The frontier was quiet for decades before Syria's civil war began in 2011.

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