Russian Airstrikes Help Syrian Army and Hezbollah take Strategic City

Recently, forces of the Lebanese Hezbollah group and the Syrian army, along with the support of the Russian Air Force, has established control over the city of Darya, located in southern Syria near the Syria-Jordan border, as reported by Al Arabiya.

This strategically important city is located just 25 kilometers from the Israeli part of Golan Heights, about 30 km from the nearest Israeli city.  From the beginning of the civil war the Syrian city of Darya, with a population of about 100,000 thousand people, was a war zone.  The opposition group ‘Army of Islam’ had gained control over the city. Some areas were controlled by Syrian troops and also by the ‘Jabhat an Nusra’ group associated with al-Qaeda, both of which are prohibited organizations in Russia.

According to the Israeli website Debkafile, the fact that the path to the city was opened by the Russian military is "a clear violation" of commitments made by Russian leadership to the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Jordanian King Abdullah.

As reports, an agreement had been reached earlier indicating that Russia will not allow the concentration of foreign Shia forces (Iranian, Lebanese, Iraqi and Afghani) near the border of Jordan and Israel.  It is not clear whether such an agreement has been signed.  The official documents have not been published.

Earlier, Netanyahu described the essence of the agreement with the Russian President: "When I saw that Russia placed its armed forces... in Syria, I decided that the wiser course would be to go and to speak directly with Mr. Putin.  We agreed that in this horrible jargon it is called ‘de-confliction.’  We have decided to make an agreement not to shoot each other.  We have created the appropriate mechanisms and these mechanisms work.  I think we mutually respect the fact that we have our special interests.  Moreover, we want to keep this coordination to avoid any confrontation."  Both Moscow and Jerusalem repeatedly stressed the importance that the agreements are complied with.

According Debkafile, the Jordanian King, Abdullah II, sent a letter to Putin, in which he expressed concern about the presence of the militant group Hezbollah near the border of the Hashemite Kingdom, but no response was received.

  Russia, Syrian Conflict