Russian Ambassador Tells Israel: We Can’t Force Iran to Leave Syria

Envoy notes Iran's presence is 'fully legitimate'

Speaking on Israel’s Channel 10 news, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov told the interviewer that Russia cannot force Iran to withdraw its military from Syria, no matter how many times Israel demands them to.

Israel has been demanding Russian intervention for months, but Iran has ruled out leaving unless Syria tells them to. Russia tried to come up with a compromise where Iranian forces would stay 100 km from the buffer zone, but Israel rejected that as well.

Viktorov told the reporters that Iran’s military presence in Syria “is fully legitimate according to the UN principles and the UN charter.” He added that Russia is “not okay” with any Israeli attacks on Syria, but that it wasn’t up to Russia to prevent them.

Israel’s position on “Iranian troops” in Syria not only demands their unconditional removal, but claims that all Shi’ite militia forces are effectively “Iranian,” which is why Israel often claims that there are many-fold more Iranians in Syria than there actually are. Most of the militia members are Hazaras from Afghanistan and Pakistan, or Iraqi and Lebanese Shi’ites.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.