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Israel warns against Iran's military presence in Syria

Jerusalem, July 9 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday welcomed the ceasefire in Syria but warned that Israel would not allow Iran and Hezbollah to establish a military presence in the neighbouring country.

“Israel will welcome a genuine ceasefire in Syria,” Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting, referring to a ceasefire agreement reached Friday between the US and Russia to quell fighting in southwestern Syria, Xinhnua news agency reported.

“This ceasefire must not enable the establishment of a military presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria in general and in southern Syria in particular,” he added.

Netanyahu said that Israel will continue to monitor developments beyond its disputed border with Syria, “while strongly upholding our red lines.”

He explained that these red lines include preventing Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based, Iran-backed militia that fights along President Bashar Assad’s army, from growing in Syria.

“Israel will prevent Hezbollah, or Iranian forces, from establishing a ground presence along our border, and prevent the establishment of an Iranian military presence in Syria as a whole,” said Netanyahu.

The ceasefire agreement was achieved after meetings between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 conference in Hamburg, Germany.

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