Syrian and Israeli officials reportedly had a Russia-brokered meeting last month

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – The Asharq Al Awsat Arabic international newspaper reported Sunday that Russia hosted a meeting for Syrian and Israeli officials at the Russian airbase in Hmeimim, Syria last month, Jewish Press reports. Neither Damascus nor Jerusalem has confirmed the report.

Asharq Al Awsat said it learned of the reported Syria-Israel meeting through the Syrian Jusoor Center for Studies, which is described as “an independent institution specializing in information management and conducting studies and research related to Syrian political and social affairs in particular and the Middle East region in general.”

According to the Jusoor Center, Syria’s National Security Office Major General Ali Mamlouk and security advisor Bassam Hassan met with Israel’s former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot and Ari ben Menashe, an Iranian-born Israeli security consultant. Facilitating the meeting was the commander of Russian forces in Syria, Alexander Chayko.

The Jewish Press notes in its report that Syria wants to return to be accepted back into Arab League and to receive financial help to repay its debts to Iran. Syria also wants Western sanctions to be lifted. Israel, on the other hand, demands that Hezbollah, Iran, and Iranian proxy militias be totally removed from Syria, that a Syrian government includes opposition parties, and that the Syrian military be restructured.

In its report about December’s meeting, the Jusoor Center added: “The meeting did not end with specific agreements, but it constitutes the beginning of a path that Russia is pushing for and which is expected to expand considerably in 2021 since Moscow believes that building a direct relationship between the Assad regime and Israel would extend a lifeline to the regime and help obtain international support for Russia’s political project in Syria.”

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