Russian military assets will provide security for safe zones in Syria established under an agreement struck during Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump, according to the Eastern power's top diplomat.
"The security around these de-escalation zones will be maintained with the use of Russian military in coordination with the U.S. and Jordan," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at the G-20 summit following his meeting with the presidents and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
That announcement might disappoint Israel, which reportedly asked the United States to take responsibility for the safe zones as negotiations developed in recent days. Israel worries that Russia and Syrian President Bashar Assad might allow their Iranian partners to move forces into southern Syria, close to Israel and Jordan. Those concerns might be offset by the details of the cooperation between Russia and the United States, however.
"U.S. and Russia have agreed to maintain this ceasefire and the ceasefire will be maintained by all parties," Lavrov said following. "They will also maintain access by humanitarian aid agencies and their will be a monitoring center that will be created in the capital of Jordan."
Israeli officials demanded that the Trump team spike a proposal that the Russian military oversee the cease-fire. "Israel vehemently opposes this idea and has made that clear to the Americans," Haaretz reported Friday, before the Trump-Putin meeting. "Israel would prefer to have American troops enforce the cease-fire in southern Syria. The Trump Administration is considering this idea, but hasn't yet decided."
American leaders in both parties are worried that Trump and former President Barack Obama, in their focus on defeating the Islamic State, respectively failed to implement a strategy for Syria that can prevent Russia and Iran from capitalizing on the Syrian civil war.
"I believe that we'll continue to take out ISIS leadership and create havoc for ISIS and al Qaeda in the region; however, you take the longer term risk of empowering the [Iran-backed] Shias and the Russians and the Assad regime to create more havoc for the West," House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told the Washington Examiner in June.