Montage Syria safe zones Putin Trump Erdogan Photos debka dot com Wikimedia Commons Kremlin dor ru LOGOApparently, Trump and Putin have done more than greet one another on the phone. According to DEBKAfile, they have struck a deal regarding Syria. Under that deal, Iran and its proxies must depart, leaving the US in charge of security along Syria's border with Israel. On the other hand, it solidifies Russia's presence in the Middle East. Moscow is not about to leave.


In an exclusive report, DEBKAfile writes that "Syria stands on the threshold of dramatic changes that will directly impact on the strategic and military situation along the Syrian borders with Israel and Jordan."

If true, it appears to be very good news for Israel, at least in the near term.

DEBKAfile's sources have informed the news service that US President Trump and Russian President Putin have done more than just greet one another on the phone. In fact, they have reached an agreement regarding Syria. Under that agreement, all military control of Syria will be transferred to three States: Russia, Turkey and the US. Each nation will be responsible for security in separate zones. The precise borders of those zones, it is said, will be negotiated by Ankara, Moscow and Washington.

In general, however, the areas for each zone are clear.

Syria SafeZones Photo DEBKA dot com 750x417 DROPSHADOWED

Russia will control Syria's northwest border, including its entire coastal boundary on the Mediterranean. This allows Russia to keep seaports and bases developed there since its dramatic arrival in Syria in September 2015. It also keeps the door wide open to the Middle East. Via the Mediterranean, Moscow's will have ongoing naval access for its nuclear submarines, battleships and aircraft carriers. It will also allow Putin's government to further develop his country's military bases and ports.

In short, it finalizes what many in Israel have already known: Russia is here to stay.

For its part, Turkey's zone is Syria's northwest border, contiguous with Turkey. As a practical matter, Turkey is already in this area where its military forces are engaging the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. 

More tellingly, however, it means that Turkey, not Iran, is the sole partner with the two superpowers remaining in Syria, Russia and the United States.

Two zones have been assigned to the US, one along Syria's northeast border and another in the "pocket" of its southwest border. In that pocket, Syria shares its border with Lebanon, Jordan - and Israel. This is the same area to which, only months ago and with Moscow's approval, Iran was deploying its newly reorganized Shiite division, posing a direct and immediate threat to the Jewish State.

The only way the US could take control there is if Iran and its allies leave. And leave they must, if, in fact, this deal is implemented.

According to DEBKAfile, the "arrangement" between Moscow, Washington and Ankara requires "all forces from the Iranian military, the pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah leave Syria."

Washington plans to police the area with its own troops - "accompanied by Jordanian special forces and Syrian rebels, trained by American instructors in Jordanian military camps."

For now, the plan, if implemented, will evoke a sigh of relief from Israel.

But between that day and this, Iran will not be happy. Will its dependency on Russia, keep it from resisting the eviction notice? Or, as it has done throughout its history under the mullahs, will it instruct its proxies to rebel, claiming no responsibility for their conduct?

Armed by Tehran, Hezbollah has a huge arsenal of missiles. That arsenal is intended to wage war on Israel. What will Hezbollah do with it? 

In today' accelerated pace for changes, especially in the Middle East, Israel and the world are likely to see answers to these questions sooner than later.


Brian Schrauger is the Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Journal. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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