The aggravation of the situation in Syria occurred due to Turkey’s failure to fulfill its obligations. This was stated by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova. The Russian Defense Ministry emphasized that Ankara did not disengage the Jabhat al-Nusra * terrorists and militants of the moderate opposition in Idlib.
The Russian Defense Ministry has denied a statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the Russian Federation and Syria are attacking civilians in the area of the Idlib de-escalation zone. The defense ministry said that Russian specialists work only on the basis of agreements reached in Sochi.
“The statements of Turkish representatives about the alleged” attack of the Russian military on civilians “in the Idlib de-escalation zone are untrue. The activities of the Russian military and, above all, the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the warring parties in the Idlib de-escalation zone, are carried out solely on the basis of the Sochi agreements, ”the Defense Ministry said.
Earlier, Erdogan said that Russia and Syria allegedly attack civilians in Idlib to force people to go to the Turkish border. These statements were denied by the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov.
“As for the attacks on Idlib, which the Syrian military are carrying out, these are attacks on terrorists, not civilians, – attacks that aim to neutralize terrorists and neutralize their aggressive activities, which they carry out from there,” he said.
It is worth noting that Turkish officials have recently been accusing Russia and the Syrian government of the situation in the Arab Republic. A serious escalation of the situation is indeed being recorded in the Idlib area, however, as the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, the reason for this was Turkey’s failure to fulfill its obligations.
“The reasons for the current degradation we see in Turkey’s chronic failure to fulfill its obligations under the Sochi memorandum of September 17, 2018 and the transfer by Ankara of controlled units of the so-called moderate armed opposition to the north-east of Syria, to the Operation Source of Peace zone, and to Libya,” she said during the briefing.
According to the Ministry of Defense, Ankara is not fulfilling its obligations to demarcate the terrorists of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham * group from militants of the Syrian opposition.
“The real cause of the crisis in the Idlib de-escalation zone is, unfortunately, the failure of our Turkish colleagues to fulfill their obligations to separate militants of the moderate opposition from the Jabhat al-Nusra and Huras al-Dink terrorists who filled these areas,” the defense ministry said in a statement.
In addition, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that weapons enter Idlib’s territory through the Syrian-Turkish border.
Earlier, on February 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan discussed the Syrian settlement during a telephone conversation. This is stated on the website of the Kremlin press service.
“The discussion of various aspects of the settlement of the Syrian crisis, primarily in the context of the aggravation of the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, continued. The importance of the full implementation of the existing Russian-Turkish agreements, including the Sochi memorandum of September 17, 2018, was noted, ”the Kremlin website says.
It is also noted that “it was agreed to conduct additional contacts through the relevant departments” of Moscow and Ankara.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that a delegation will soon leave Moscow for Ankara to discuss the situation in Idlib.
“Today, our president spoke with his Russian counterpart Putin. In the near future, our delegation will go to Moscow. We recently had a delegation from Russia. We continue to work together. We are trying to ensure a truce (in Idlib), but if no decision comes out of the negotiations with the Russian Federation, we will act at our discretion, ”Cavusoglu said.
The situation in Idlib
The Idlib de-escalation zone is the last major hotbed of terrorism in Syria. This region is under the control of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham * group and its loyal groups. Also, illegal armed opposition groups are concentrated there – the task of separating them from the terrorists was entrusted to Turkey.
As Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted several days earlier, Ankara did not fulfill this obligation.
“Unfortunately, at this stage, the Turkish side was not able to fulfill a couple of key obligations that were designed to solve the Idlib problem fundamentally. The first is to dissociate the armed opposition, which is cooperating with the Turks and is ready for dialogue with the government in the framework of the political process, from the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists, who mimicked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, he said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta “.
The second commitment that Turkey has not fulfilled is the creation of a 10-20 kilometer demilitarized strip inside Idlib, Lavrov added.
As noted in the Russian Foreign Ministry, the situation in the region has worsened since mid-December 2019. As a result of this escalation, Russian military experts also died. Regularly, militants attempt to launch an attack on the positions of the Syrian troops and attack civilians.
In turn, the Syrian troops have stepped up their efforts to free settlements and infrastructure in the region from militants.