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Israel Calls On Russia to Remove Hezbollah from Golan Heights

Israel Calls On Russia to Remove Hezbollah from Golan Heights

Wednesday, 17 July, 2019 - 09:45
Israeli soldiers ride armored vehicles during an exercise in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, near the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat

Political sources in Tel Aviv on Tuesday revealed that the Israeli government has demanded several times in recent months the Russian authorities to work on emptying the Syrian Golan Heights from Lebanese Hezbollah activists.

The sources said Hezbollah had set up armed cells in the eastern part of the Golan Heights, which were working to achieve two objectives: imposing military control of the Syrians and supporting the regime against the opposition forces; and plotting armed operations against Israel, which has been controlling the western part of the Golan since its occupation in 1967.

The Israeli planes carried out several raids against Hezbollah forces, most recently on July 4, in which 16 elements, including members of Hezbollah, were killed.

The sources stressed that Israeli officials have asked several times the Russians to intervene in the evacuation of Hezbollah members, whether through talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Vladimir Putin, or through coordination meetings at the highest level between the Israeli and Russian armies.

But they added that every time, Hezbollah elements disappeared for a few days, before returning to their normal activity.

Israel threatened to continue and intensify the raids if Russia did not curb Hezbollah’s presence in the Golan and other areas close to its border in Syria.

The sources noted that the Russians succeeded in keeping the Iranian presence 70-80 kilometers-away from the Golan and other areas along the border, but did not act similarly with Hezbollah.

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