Ankara has failed to fulfill several key commitments of the agreement it reached with Moscow on normalization of the situation in Syria’s Idlib province, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during an interview with the editors of Rossiyskaya Gazeta, according to the TASS news agency.
“Unfortunately, at this stage, the Turkish side failed to fulfill a couple of key commitments that were supposed to solve the Idlib problem altogether. First, they failed to separate the armed opposition, which collaborates with the Turks and is ready for dialogue with the government, from the terrorists of the Nusra Front, which turned into Hayat Tahrir al-Sham,” Lavrov said.
“The second aspect, connected to risks and threats originating from the Idlib de-escalation zone, involves moving hundreds of militants, including Nusra and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members, to Libya, to take part in an escalation of fighting in that country,” the minister said.
“I would like to underscore again, considering all the factors I’ve mentioned, that Russia cannot solve this problem alone, but it can fight for unconditional and meticulous fulfillment of agreements on Idlib. This is what we’re talking about with our Turkish partners,” Lavrov added.
“Literally two days ago, there was an attempt to strike our Hmeimim base with a drone. It was thwarted by the base’s air defense. And the shelling of Syrian Army positions and civilian targets beyond the Idlib zone is regular,” he said.
According to Lavrov, one reason for this situation is that no demilitarized zone was created in Idlib.
“We reminded our Turkish partners about that, too. We will keep fighting for fulfillment of all points of the decisions made by the presidents of Russia and Turkey,” he said. “We receive information on the deployment of Turkish forces in the Idlib zone, about clashes between them and the Syrian forces. Our military is monitoring this situation. According to our data, already announced by the General Staff, Turkish forces advanced towards certain targets inside the Idlib de-escalation zone without warning us, so we were unable to warn the Syrian Army. The strikes were carried out, the Turkish side threatens retaliation. This is all very sad. We call for diligent fulfillment of the 2018 and 2019 Sochi agreements on Idlib,” the top Russian diplomat said.