Russia disappointed after Turkey, rebels lose control of Idlib to terrorists

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Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Aleksandr Lavrentyev said Moscow was disappointed after Turkey and moderate armed rebels lost control of Syria’s Idlib region to terrorist groups, Sputnik Turkish service reported on Friday.

“Our Turkish friends and moderate rebels failed the efforts to wipe out the remaining terrorists in [Idlib],” Lavrentyev told reporters at the Astana summit, held by officials from Turkey, Russia and Iran.

The terrorist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham now controls most of the city.

“That they have managed to gain control of most of the city, of course, triggers a lot of questions and has caused a huge disappointment for us,” he added.

Turkey and Russia last year reached an agreement to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib and regain control of the city from terrorist groups in order to prevent a Russia-backed Syrian army offensive that would have caused civilian deaths.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is an offshoot of the Al Nusra terrorist group, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The Russian envoy vowed to fight against terrorists and called on the moderate rebels to distinguish themselves from the radical groups.

He also said Moscow was aware that Turkey had requested establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria but said such a territory should be under the control of the Syrian government.

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