Turkey failed to separate ‘opposition’ from terrorists in Idlib: Moscow

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Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu (R) with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Turkey’s inability to separate “opposition” from terrorist groups in Syria’s Idlib is one of the main reasons behind the ongoing escalation there, the Russian Defense Ministry has said, warning Ankara against “uncoordinated” actions, according to the Russian RT news website.

The ongoing fighting in Syria’s Idlib region has been triggered by repeated attacks from “terrorist groups” in the government-controlled parts of the country, the ministry said on Tuesday. These continuous attacks – documented by both Russian and Turkish soldiers stationed in the area – ultimately triggered a Syrian government offensive against the militants.

Ankara itself is partially to blame for the ongoing bloodshed since it failed to separate the so-called “moderate opposition” groups from the internationally recognized terrorists, Moscow said. Moreover, Turkish allegations that the Syrian government is deliberately targeting civilians in Idlib are completely untrue, it added.

The civilian population of Idlib is only suffering because terrorist groups are using it as a human shield to try and hide from “the retaliatory fire of the government troops.”

The situation is further aggravated “by the flow of arms and ammunition into the de-escalation zone across the Turkish-Syrian border, as well as columns of Turkish armored vehicles and troops entering Syria’s province of Idlib,” the statement read.

It still remains a key goal in Idlib for both Moscow and Ankara to eliminate the internationally recognized terrorist groups that are entrenched in the region as well as provide safety and security for Syrian civilians. However, in order to prevail, Ankara should not act in a unilateral and “uncoordinated” way, the Russian ministry stated.

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