Russian Foreign Minister reaffirmed on February 13 that the Russian-Turkish demilitarized zone agreement on Idlib is temporary and ruled out the possibility of “endless” terrorist presence in the governorate.
“The agreement between the presidents of Russia and Turkey, which was reached in September, on the approach to solving the problem of the Idlib zone was a temporary agreement. It was confirmed a couple of times at the meetings that took place between our leaders after the September contact … No agreement suggests the endless preservation of this terrorist nests in Syrian territory, ” said Sergey Lavrov at a briefing, according to Eha Medya.
Lavrov stressed that the agreement requires the delimitation of moderate fighters, who are willing to talk with Damascus, and the full neutralization of radical militants in Idlib. He also accused some actors of supporting the radicals.
“There is information that some Western countries want this, want this enclave, in which now the al-Nusra Front [Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)] seized more than 90 percent of the territory, became a kind of participant in the future political process”, Lavrov said.
Last month, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused members of the US-led coalition of supporting HTS in an attempt to sabotage the Russian-Turkish agreement. The minister said that some of these members are even paying HTS to violate the agreement.
The situation in Idlib will be one of the key issues at the upcoming Sochi meeting, which will be headed by the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran, according to Lavrov. The meeting is set to take place on February 14.