Wary of al Qaeda-linked factions gaining strength in neighbouring Syria,Israel had asked the US to accept Russian initiative to destroy Syrian chemical weapons,saying it believed Moscow was not “bluffing”.
US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Israel’s Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on September 11 when the latter said,”he believed Russia wasn’t bluffing and that a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis was possible”.
“Israel shared US concerns that strikes could strengthen rebels linked with al Qaeda and allow them to seize (Bashar) al-Assad’s weapons,” the Wall Street Journal reported today.
The report is said to be based on American and Middle Eastern officials who were briefed on the exchange.
The US and Russia hashed out the deal on Saturday in Geneva that called for the dismantling of Syria’s chemical
stockpile by mid-2014.
Over the past 24 hours,Kerry has briefed some of the US’s closest allies on the agreement to end Syria’s chemical weapons programme,pressing for broad support for the plan that averted US-led military strikes.
The US holds the Assad regime responsible for a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on August 21,killing over 1000 people. The Syrian regime denies the charge.
Following a brief stop over in Israel yesterday,Kerry was meeting in Paris with his counterparts from France,Britain,Turkey and Saudi Arabia,who had pressed for strikes against the embattled Assad regime after the August 21.
Hardline Islamists and jihadists linked with al Qaeda make up almost half of 100,000 rebels fighting against the Syrian regime,according to a new study by the British defence consultancy IHS Jane’s.