3 Mar 2019 17:24

Russian-Turkish agreements on Syria's Idlib have not been fully implemented yet - Lavrov

MOSCOW. March 3 (Interfax) - Russia urges Turkey to comply with the Idlib agreements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA.

"We urge Turkish partners to implement their commitments under the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in Idlib from September 17, 2018. It is important that the presence of terrorists will not be further reinforced under the pretext of observing the ceasefire agreed with Turkey," Lavrov said.

"The provisions of the document, which specifically envisage the creation of a demilitarized zone and the withdrawal of all radicals and heavy weaponry from it, have not been fully implemented yet," the minister said.

Russia and Turkey agreed to create a buffer zone in Idlib along the contact line between the armed opposition and governmental troops in Sochi on September 17, 2018. Turkey has taken up a commitment to liberate this buffer zone from Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists (banned in Russia).

The buffer zone should have been put into operation by October 15, 2018, but Ankara still failed to eliminate terrorist groups in this area.

The presence of al-Nusra terrorists in Idlib contravenes the Russian-Turkish agreements on the creation of a buffer zone, Lavrov said at a press conference on January 28. "The remaining terrorist nest in Idlib is an obvious fact. Our Syrian colleagues have reaffirmed their commitment to wipe out this terrorist hotbed," Lavrov said at the press conference.

"Yes, we are ready to act in line with the Russian-Turkish agreement on Idlib, including the creation of a demilitarized zone around the security area. However, the fact that al-Nusra and its new incarnation, Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham (banned in Russia), have seized a large part of that territory clearly contravenes the agreements reached in order to solve the security problem in the Idlib zone," he said.