The Latest: Israel welcomes southern Syria cease-fire


The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Israel says it would “welcome a genuine cease-fire” in southern Syria so long as it doesn’t enable a military presence for Iran and its proxies along Israel’s border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments were Israel’s first since the cease-fire brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin went into effect midday Sunday.

Israel has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran, which is a close ally of the Syrian government, to set up a permanent presence in Syria. It has carried out a number of airstrikes in Syria against suspected shipments of “game-changing” weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Netanyahu says he conveyed his country’s concerns once again last week to both Putin and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Netanyahu says both said they understand Israel’s position and took it into account.

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Noon

An open-ended cease-fire in southern Syria brokered by the United States and Russia has come into effect.

The cease-fire, announced after a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg last week, is the first initiative by the Trump administration in collaboration with Russia to bring some stability to war-torn Syria.

No cease-fire has lasted long in the six-year-old Syrian war.

U.S.-backed rebels, Syrian government forces, and Islamic State militants are all fighting for control of southern Syria.

The latest truce, which began at noon (0900 GMT) Saturday, is intended to allay concerns of neighboring Israel and Jordan about Iranian-backed and government-allied forces at their borders. The truce does not include the IS group.



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