Trump administration will continue to consult with Israel on Syria cease-fire

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Trump administration shares a goal with Israel of keeping Iran out of southern Syria, a spokesman said, and will continue consulting with Israel about a Syrian ceasefire that Israel’s government is vigorously opposing.

“There’s a shared interest that we have with Israel, making sure that Iran does not gain a foothold, military base-wise, in southern Syria,” Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, said Monday at the daily briefing for reporters.

“So while we’re going to continue those talks, obviously we want to have the productive ceasefire, but we also want to make sure that we’re not — one of our other objectives obviously remains to make sure that Iran does not gain a foothold in southern Syria,” he said. “So we need to continue to have that discussion with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu about his concerns, but I think there is a shared goal there.”

Netanyahu over the weekend said he opposed the cease-fire in southwestern Syria, near the border with the Golan Heights and brokered last week by the United States and Russia because he fears it will give Iran a foothold in a region close to Israel.

Iran and its Lebanese ally, the Hezbollah militia, have helped prop up the Assad regime in Syria. The civil war there has raged since 2011 and has claimed an estimated 500,000 lives.

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