Russian-backed Idlib offensive does not violate agreement with Turkey: Lavrov

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. / AFP PHOTO / Alexander NEMENOV

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday said a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive in the Idlib region did not violate any agreements with Turkey, Reuters reported, citing the RIA news agency.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Friday that Syrian army attacks in northwest Syria were causing a humanitarian crisis and threatening Turkey’s national security, the Turkish presidency said.

Syrian troops have encircled rebels and a Turkish military post in northwest Syria in an offensive to reclaim territory and towns they lost early in the war.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that President Putin understood the concerns of his Turkish counterpart but that he was equally concerned about attacks by militants from Syria’s Idlib region that needed to be stamped out.

“Putin has repeatedly said he understands the concerns of our Turkish colleagues … but at the same time the president remains … concerned about the activization of action by terrorist elements from Idlib that cannot be [left] without being stamped out and destroyed,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Syrian government forces last week had opened fire on a Turkish observation post in northwest Syria, two Turkish officials told Reuters, but there were no Turkish casualties.

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