Arch enemies Israel and Iran have set up a secret back-channel to reduce the chances of war over Syrian army operations near the Golan Heights, according to Saudi reports.
The Syrian military is preparing to attack rebel groups in Daraa and Quneitra, and the prospect of Iranian or Hezbollah fighters near the border alarmed both Israel and Jordan, according to reports in Israel Hayom.
Both Iran and its Lebanon-based proxy Hezbollah have fought on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in recent years and Saudi media sources reported that Jordan recently received assurances from Iran that its forces would not deploy.
“Iran used Jordan as a go-between to relay a message to Israel, saying it would not operate in south-eastern Syria near the border with Jordan,” Israel Hayom reports.
“According to the report, the understandings were reached in a series of indirect meetings in Jordan, where Iranian officials, including the envoy to Jordan, met with top Jordanian officials, who in turn met with senior Israeli security officials.”
If true, it would mean that Israel, Syria and Jordan have agreed that only Syria and Jordan’s army will operate on respective sides of their border, therefore reducing the risk of all-out war between Israel and Iran.
A senior Jordanian official who took part in the mediation efforts told the Saudi website Elaph that the agreement was reached in very little time.
“Within a few hours, we managed to reach an understanding with all the parties operating in the region – mainly Israel and Iran – that the Syrian and Jordanian armies would be the only two forces to deploy on both sides of the border between Syria and Jordan,” he said.
“The Iranians provided assurances that their forces would not operate alongside the Syrian military in the offensive.”
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