2 Mar 2020 11:00

Russian military does not guarantee safe flights of Turkish planes in Syria

MOSCOW. March 2 (Interfax) - The Russian military does not guarantee safe flights of Turkish aircraft in Syria.

"The Syrian government has had to close the Idlib airspace due to the escalated tensions. The command of the Russian contingent cannot guarantee safe flights of Turkish aircraft in the Syrian airspace under these circumstances," head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Flights in Syria Rear Adm. Oleg Zhuralyov said at a briefing.

The Syrian Defense Ministry said earlier on Sunday that a no-fly zone would be established in the Idlib de-escalation area on March 1.

According to the Syrian military, Turkish F-16 fighters downed two planes of the Syrian Air Force on Sunday. The pilots ejected and landed safely.

Meanwhile, the Turkish military reported the downing of two Syrian Su-24 frontline bombers on Sunday.

A source in the Syrian Defense Ministry said that Syrian air force destroyed six Turkish attack drones in Idlib on Sunday. According to the Syrian military, the Turkish drones were attacking positions of government forces and supporting operations of the militants.

The Russian Defense Ministry denied on Sunday that the militants had allegedly downed a Russian Su-24 bomber using a man-portable air defense missile system.

The Anadolu news agency reported that the Turkish army delivered a strike at the Al-Nayrab airfield in the south east of Syria's province of Aleppo.

The situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone has escalated recently. The Syrian army backed by Russia is combating militants backed by Turkey.

Last week, 33 Turkish servicemen were killed in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to address Syria at a meeting in Moscow on either March 5 or March 6.

"Of course, it will not be an easy meeting, but the [two] heads of state reaffirmed their intentions to settle the situation in Idlib and their commitment to the Sochi agreements. This is important," Peskov said in the Moscow. Kremlin. Putin program on the Rossiya-1 (VGTRK) TV channel.

Peskov also said that servicemen from other countries, except for the Russian ones, are stationed in Syria in violation of international law.

"Russia is the only country, which has its military in Syria on legal grounds at the Syrian legitimate leadership's request. All the other militaries from other countries are stationed in Syria contrary to the regulations and principles of international law," he said.

"Any actions of the Syrian military sought fighting terrorist groups in the last few days," he added.

In line with the Sochi agreements, "it is precisely Turkey which should provide for the regime of the absence of activity by these terrorist elements," Peskov said.

"Turkey unfortunately failed to meet these commitments. Terrorists launched an attack on the Syrian Armed Forces, and they are also carrying out strikes on Russian military facilities," he said.

"In spite of any statements, the fight against these terrorist elements will certainly be continued," Peskov said.