Rabu, 6 Jun 2018

Russians withdraw from Syria-Lebanon border

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BEIRUT: A Russian troop deployment in Syria near the Lebanese border this week caused friction with Iran-backed forces including Lebanese Hezbollah militia stationed in Syria, which objected to the uncoordinated move, two non-Syrian officials in the regional alliance backing Damascus said.

The situation was resolved on Tuesday when Syrian army soldiers took over three positions where the Russians had deployed near the town of Qusair in the Homs region on Monday, one of the officials, a military commander, told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

It appeared to be a rare case of Russia acting out of sync with Assad's regime and Iran-backed allies in the war. Iranian and Russian support has been critical to Assad’s war effort.

“It was an uncoordinated step,” said the commander. “Now it is resolved. We rejected the step. The Syrian army 'Division 11' is deploying at the border,” said the commander, adding Hezbollah militiamen were still located in the area.

There was no comment from the Russian military about the incident. Earlier the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV, says the Russian force withdrew Tuesday from the border area on the outskirts of the town of Qusair, a stronghold of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. Russia and the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia are both fighting alongside Syrian regime president Bashar Assad’s forces.

Al-Mayadeen and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian troops had deployed to the area on Monday. Neither provided details as to why they left.

The rare deployment of Russian forces near the border came amid repeated Israeli warnings about Iran’s growing military presence in Syria. Israel is widely believed to have been behind an airstrike on Qusair last month that killed and wounded Hezbollah militants.
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