Russia has demanded that Turkey do more to tackle hardcore fighters in Syria‘s Idlib province and fulfil promises it made as part of a deal with Moscow last year.

Turkey, which backs moderate Syrian rebels, and Russia, the Syrian government’s principal foreign ally, agreed in September to create a demilitarised zone in northwest Idlib region that would be evacuated of all heavy weapons and hardline fighters.

Ankara pledged to disarm and remove Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham dominating there, according to the deal, which prevented the Russia-backed Syrian government from launching a major military operation in the region to wipe the group once affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the situation in Idlib was rapidly deteriorating and Tahrir al-Sham was trying to seize control of the entire area.

“Given the extremely difficult situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, we expect our Turkish partners to activate their efforts to ultimately turn the tide and to fully carry out the obligations they took upon themselves,” Zakharova said in a statement.

Trilateral meeting

The comments came with Russian President Vladimir Putin due to meet the leaders of Turkey and Iran next week at a summit in the southern Russian city of Sochi, where they are expected to discuss Syria again.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last month “terrorist” groups were operating in about 70 percent of the demilitarised zone in Idlib, which he said went against the September deal.

Turkey says it has been implementing the Idlib agreement without any problems, despite provocations from different sides in the war.

Idlib has been hit by sporadic government shelling for weeks despite the deal between Russia and Turkey.

Bombardment by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed at least 11 people, including nine civilians, late last month, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.

There have also been deadly suicide attacks in the region.

Syria’s complex war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions since it started in March 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

Read More

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here