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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's sweeping away of rebels in southwestern Syria has anxious Israel, which believes it could allow his Iranian backers to entrench their troops close to the frontier.

The Israeli military confirmed a strike against what it called "armed terror operatives" but it did not give any details on casualties.

Meanwhile, in a major change to the pre-conflict 2011 status quo, Russian military police began deploying alongside returning United Nations peacekeepers on the Syrian-held Golan and planned to set up eight observation posts in the area, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said.

He named them as a strict observance of a 1974 armistice with Syria, not allowing Iran to use Syria as a front against Israel and not allowing Syria to be used as a transit point for advanced arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

It is a rare attack by Israel on militants in the area, recently retaken by Syrian forces from IS and rebels.

Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov told Channel 10 in Israel Russia can not compel Iranian forces to leave Syria because they are playing a crucial role in defeating "terrorists".

Late Thursday, Syrian media reported that its defenses foiled a "hostile attack" west of the capital Damascus.

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Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

A day before the joint Russia-U.N. patrols, Russian Federation announced it reached an agreement with Israel to keep pro-Iranian fighters 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the volatile frontier.

A week later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov flew to Jerusalem where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in talks that focused on the Iranian presence in Syria.

It is therefore no exaggeration to say that Israel is now facing Iranian-trained and financed forces along two fronts in the north of the country: Lebanon and Syria.

Iran has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with weapons, cash and manpower, and Israel has carried out strikes on Iranian military assets in Syria.

Alexander Lavrentyev, Putin's envoy in Syria told state-controlled Sputnik news in Russia the Russian government was taking Israel's security needs in account and claimed the Russians had "managed to attain the pullout of Iranian units 85km from the Israeli border". Syria said that the jet was conducting raids in Syrian airspace when it was engaged by Israeli forces.


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