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slamic State-related groups have stepped up their activity in the area of Al-Tanf, controlled by the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference on Monday.
“We have gathered much evidence some strange things are happening in Al-Tanf. In our point of view this area is of no considerable significance for the anti-terrorist operation. In practice we can see that in this area, including the Rukban refugee camp, armed groups appear ever more often and, according to our sources, they have connections with the Islamic State.”
Agreements concerning the southern de-escalation zone in Syria imply that only Syrian government forces can remain on the border with Israel, Lavrov said, commenting on Israeli media reports about Moscow’s plans to ask Iran to pull its units back from the Syrian-Israeli border.
“In the end, only Syrian government forces must remain on the country’s border with Israel,” the Russian top diplomat said.
He pointed out that the 2017 agreements on setting up a de-escalation zone along the Syrian-Israeli border implied that all foreign troops must pull out of the area.
On Sunday, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper wrote that Moscow may convince Iran to pull its troops back 60 kilometers from Syria’s border with Israel.