Unresolved Iran-Free Buffer Zone in Syria
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
The Putin/Trump joint statement on Syria, issued at the APEC summit in Vietnam, said nothing about an Iran-Free buffer zone in Syria.
Israeli media, citing an unnamed Trump administration source, claimed a Russian/US/Jordanian southern Syria ceasefire agreement includes expulsion of Iranian and Hezbollah forces from the area, eventually from Syria altogether.
Any agreement requires Damascus approval, a sovereign nation, free to invite allied foreign forces into the country on a temporary or permanent basis.
The latter is most likely, given the ominous threat posed by Israel, America, and regional terrorist groups both countries support.
Asked whether the joint Putin/Trump statement on Syria, issued at the APEC summit requires the departure of Iranian and Hezbollah fighters from the country, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:
“The statement does not require comments, as its text is available. It is available for reading, and any double interpretations are inappropriate.”
Draw your own conclusions on what he meant. He suggested nothing about requiring Iranian and Hezbollah forces to leave Syria at any time.
After years of US-launched war, Assad isn’t likely to agree to anything leaving the country vulnerable to future aggression.
Iranian and Hezbollah forces, along with Russian airpower, are vital for the nation’s defense – not offense any time against Israel or any other regional nation.
Israeli military intelligence-connected DEBKAfile (DF) said Putin and Trump failed to agree “on the political and military future of Syria” ahead of the APEC summit – why no formal meeting was held, just several brief exchanges, followed by a joint statement, prepared in advance.
Both leaders disagreed on a buffer zone along the Syrian/Israeli border, a long-running dispute between both countries and Netanyahu.
Unconfirmed reports suggest Iran is building a military base in Syria around 50 km from Golan – near where Syrian forces are stationed.
Earlier, Netanyahu said he won’t tolerate a permanent Iranian presence threatening Israeli territory. Iran, Hezbollah and Syria pose none – except in self-defense if attacked.
Moscow and Washington are world’s apart on the future of Syria, including its sovereignty, territorial integrity and right of its people to decide who’ll lead them, free from foreign interference.
According to DF, “differences between Trump and Putin on the Syrian issue had prevented the release of a statement of accord. The US president insisted that without an accord there would be no formal sit-down at the Vietnam Asian summit.”
Agreement was reached on expanding de-escalation zones and enhancing the joint Russian/US Amman-based monitoring center – to prevent clashes between Pentagon and Russian forces in Syria.
Trump inherited Obama’s war, waged for regime change and transforming Syria into a US-controlled puppet state.
Russian involvement foiled Washington’s imperial objective. Both countries remain intractably apart on the future of the country – no breakthroughs expected.
A Final Comment
US-led “coalition” warplanes continue terror-bombing Syria, massacring countless thousands of civilians, destroying vital infrastructure – proving Washington wants war, not peace.
Damascus blasted what’s been going on numerous times, including letters to the UN secretary-general and Security Council president, demanding responsible world body action to stop the carnage – with no success.
Letters were again sent on Saturday, “strong(ly) condemn(ing)” what’s ongoing, supporting terrorist fighters, not combating them.
Syria accused the “rogue coalition” of adding “new bloody massacres” to its records of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
It called on UN authorities to take “immediate” action to “stop the brutal crimes perpetrated by the illegal ‘coalition’ (and) prevent further crimes and attacks on the Syrian people as well as (on) the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.”
This and previous letters to world body leaders fell on deaf ears. Continuing US-led aggression on the country shows the Trump administration wants endless war, not resolution.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."