Nov 22 2018

Establishing demilitarised zone in Idlib remains difficult - Russian Foreign Ministry

The establishment of a demilitarised zone in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib is still difficult, despite Turkey’s efforts to realise commitments of a Turkish-Russian agreement, Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, Sputnik News reported on Thursday. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in September announced an agreement to create a demilitarised buffer zone in Idlib, the last major rebel-held enclave in Syria. 

The deal between Ankara and Moscow effectively postponed a possible military assault of the Syrian government against rebel forces in Idlib, where an estimated 3 million Syrians are trapped. 

Rebel fighters in Idlib attacked Syrian government positions on last week and reportedly killed 22 soldiers. In response, Syrian Army heavily pounded the jihadist defences in southeast Idlib with a plethora of artillery shells and surface-to-surface missiles. 

“Such murderous provocations show that the difficulties in establishing a demilitarised zone remain unchanged, despite Turkish side’s efforts to implement the agreement with Russia on Sept. 17,” Sputnik reported Zakharova as saying.