Russia, Turkey continue work in Syria's Idlib zone

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – Turkey and Russia agreed to continue working on separating the armed opposition from terrorists in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Lavrov accused militants under the control of Al-Nusra Front of consistent violation of the cease-fire declared in January by the initiative of Turkey and Russia.

"This kind of provocation cannot go unanswered. And we support the actions the Syrian army is taking to suppress the sources of these provocations in the Idlib zone. As for the fate of the militants there, if they are ready to dissociate themselves from the terrorists, as required by the Russian-Turkish Memorandum of September 2018, they must do so," the minister said.

Lavrov also said he agreed with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in a phone talk to work "more precisely" to implement the agreements on separating "the armed opposition — which is patriotic and ready to participate in the political process — from terrorists — which are recognized as such by the UN Security Council."

The minister called on the armed opposition to completely cut off contacts with terrorists, adding that terrorists attacked humanitarian corridors, preventing the civilians, which they used as human shield, to leave the area.

Turkey and Russia agreed in September 2018 to turn Idlib, Syria into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Since then, over 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the Bashar al-Assad regime and Russian forces as the cease-fire continued to be violated.

More than 1 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the last year.