World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied a newspaper report on Friday that said he had agreed in principle to hand back occupied Syria land as part of secret U.S.-mediated peace talks that broke off last year.
Syria has long set a complete withdrawal from the Golan Heights as a condition for making peace with the Jewish state.
Israeli leaders had consented to at least partial Golan pullbacks in past talks with Syria, though none had gone as far as Netanyahu in agreeing to withdraw to the northeastern shores of the Sea of Galilee, the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth daily said.
The newspaper quoted unspecified American documents as saying Netanyahu had expressed such a readiness, surprising U.S. diplomats during indirect contacts they mediated with Syria two years ago.
These contacts broke off early in 2011.
Netanyahu's office said the suggested withdrawal had been a U.S. initiative that Israel had never accepted and dismissed the report as "politically-motivated", citing the fact that it was published just days after the right-wing leader announced he would move up national elections to early next year.
"This was one initiative among many proposed to Israel in recent years. At no stage did Israel accept this American initiative. It is an old and irrelevant initiative," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.
Regime offensive comes one day after Turkmen fighters retook control of Kizildag town
Russian planes have carried out at least 12 strikes in the area where Turkey downed their fighter jet
The second pilot who ejected from the fighter jet shot by Turkish forces has been picked up by the Syrian army
Sources report that first pilot was killed by opposition forces who shot at him as he landed after ejecting from the plane
Turkish reports say incident happened in border area between Turkey's southern Hatay province and an area in northwest Syria populated by the Turkic-speaking Turkmen minority
Twin attacks target hotel housing judges tasked with overseeing Egypt’s parliamentary polls
Turkey has condemned the ruthless attacks by Russia and have sent a letter to the UN expressing grave concern about attacks in Bayirbucak Turkmen area in northwestern Syria
Iran calls for international investment as it seeks a greater share of the world's gas market
Russia and Iran have 'unity of views' on Syria, a spokesman for Kremlin says after President Putin held talks in Tehran with supreme leader Khamenei
To avoid crossing paths with Russian planes, France is coordinating with Moscow via the U.S. coalition headquarters in Qatar
Russian president is due to hold talks with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani on the one-day visit
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the army's advance, which it said had been backed by Russian warplanes and military helicopters
Russian missiles launched from the Caspian Sea have caused disruptions to air traffic in the Middle East.
Kerry has scheduled meetings with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE Foreign Minister
At least 97 children are among those who have been killed by Russian strikes which began in late September
Turkey has expressed concern in recent days over Russian air raids in the area, fearing they are aimed at hitting Syrian opposition fighters and bolstering the Assad regime