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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images

Israel denied claims today by Russian officials and reports in Arab media outlets about new understandings that were allegedly reached about the situation in Southern Syria. An Israeli official told me that no deal was reached with the Russians so far.

Why it matters: The Syrian army is about to start a military operation against rebels in Southern Syria near the Israeli and Jordanian borders, which would violate a ceasefire deal signed by the U.S., Russia and Jordan last July.

The state of play: The Russians want to update the deal because of the Syrian army operation. Israel, the U.S. and Jordan are open to the Russian proposal but want to make sure it will include a firm commitment from the Russians that Iranian forces, Hezbollah and Shia militias will not take part in the operation and will be completely removed from the areas close to the Israeli and Jordanian borders. 

What they're saying: Russian ambassador to the U.N. Vasily Nebenzya told reporters in New York on Friday that an agreement on disengagement in the Southwest part of Syria was reached with Israel.

  • He added: "Whether it has been implemented as of now I can not answer, but I understand that the parties that were involved in reaching the agreement are satisfied with what they reached. If it has not been done by now it will be done in the near future."

An Israeli official told me: "The Russian attitude towards getting the Iranians out of Syria is much more positive than before. The Russians are moving in the right direction but until now we only heard ideas from the them and we haven’t seen anything on paper. The devil is in the details and the big test is the implementation."

The details: The Israeli official added that Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed in his phone call with Russian president Putin on Thursday and in his phone calls with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday and Friday that Israel wants the Iranian forces, Hezbollah and Shia militias out of the entire Syrian territory and not simply out of the areas close to the Israeli border.

  • The official said that Netanyahu told Putin and Pompeo Israel will maintain full freedom of operation against Iranian military entrenchment attempts anywhere in Syria.

Go deeper: U.S. and Israel coordinate terms for new deal in Southern Syria

Go deeper

35 mins ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden plan expected to include at least $500B for climate

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is privately telling lawmakers the climate portion of President Biden's roughly $2 trillion social spending plan is "mostly settled" and will likely cost more than $500 billion, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: A pricetag of $500-$555 billion is a huge number and, if it holds, would likely be the single biggest component of the sweeping package. It also isn't far off from the roughly $600 billion proposed when the bill was expected to cost $3.5 trillion.

2 hours ago - World

U.S. presses Gulf countries to help resolve Sudan coup crisis

Jake Sullivan briefs the press. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The Biden administration has asked its partners in the Gulf and elsewhere to press the Sudanese generals who carried out a coup on Monday to release captives including Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and to reinstate the civilian government, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The U.S. has limited influence over coup leader Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and other military leaders, many of whom have close ties to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.