Russia is mediating between Damascus and Israel, but not for peace: analysts

RAMALLAH, Palestine (North Press) –  Eyal Alima, an Israeli journalist specializing in military affairs, ruled out that the current atmosphere is conducive to normalization between Syria and Israel via Russian mediation.

Russia always plays a role in mediating messages between Damascus and Israel to prevent things from exploding, Alima told North Press, adding that Russia is important for Israel, not only militarily, but also for its stability.

Saudi newspaper Elaph quoted an Israeli military source as saying that the Syrian regime has sent messages to Israel via Moscow stipulating conditions to achieve peace between them.

Alima pointed out that this communication is “unrealistic,” at least at this stage, because Israel considers Syria an ally of Iran, due to Syria’s debt to Iran, which saved the government of President Bashar Assad.

Alima said that there is continuous coordination between Israel and Russia, and that there is direct contact between the Russian Hmeimim base and the Israeli military leadership through which messages are transmitted indirectly between Israel and Damascus.

He revealed that Israel, through the Russian role, does not seek to target Syrian government forces unless they are fully involved in Iran’s activities, explaining why the raids in Syria primarily target Iranians.

“If we asked the Syrian president if he is interested in the understandings of the truce with Israel, the answer would be positive, because there are no benefits from friction, but the matter is out of his hands, as Iran and its militias are not under his control,” said Alima.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the Syria issue.

A statement issued by Netanyahu’s office revealed that the conversation between them touched on the latest developments in Syria and the Middle East, and the necessary steps to increase regional stability and cooperation in the field of combating coronavirus.

Muslim Shaito, head of the Russian-Arab Cultural Center in St. Petersburg, said that the leakage of messages attributed to Syria about peace with Israel is intended to accelerate the normalization of relations with Arab countries, and that what was published by the Saudi newspaper in this regard is 100% incorrect.

In an interview with North Press, Shaito said that Syria had announced its position to Russia and that the relationship with Israel is linked to the withdrawal from the Golan Heights, the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the return of Palestinian refugees.

He added that Russia respects the Syrian position, and that it rejected Israel’s demands for Moscow’s recognition of Israel’s control over the Golan region.

He indicated that Russia is transmitting messages from everyone during its discussions, and may transmit messages from Damascus to Israel and vice versa, but it is always related to events, bombings, and clashes rather than peace and normalization.

Shaito ruled out that Damascus will tend towards an official neutral and calm relationship with Israel as an alternative to peace at this time, because this means that it would be an alternative option to the position that it announces to Moscow.

Reporting by Ahmed Ismail