Russia loses patience on Syria’s Idlib - Newsweek

Russia warned this week that it is growing impatient with the presence of jihadis in Idlib, the last major rebel-held enclave in Syria, despite Turkey’s assurances they would be removed, Newsweek said on Thursday. 

According to a deal Ankara and Moscow struck in mid-September, Turkey agreed to create a demilitarised buffer zone and remove extremist fighters such as those belonging to al-Qaeda-linked Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) to prevent attacks on Syrian government forces and infrastructure.

Vladimir Safronkov, Moscow's permanent representative to the United Nations, warned a Security Council session on Wednesday that militant groups remained active in Syria. 

"The situation in Idlib remains volatile. Militants from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham do not cease to attack the governmental forces. They strike indiscriminately, including against civil infrastructure. Peaceful people die," Safronkov said. 

The status quo in Idlib is not viable and poses danger for both Syria and the region, the Russian diplomat said.

Safronkov's remarks came the day before officials from Russia, Iran and Turkey gathered in the Kazakh capital of Nursultan, formerly named Astana, to discuss Syria. 

Alexander Lavrenteiv, Russia's special representative to Syria, said on the sidelines of talks on Thursday that discussions "dealt with the situation in Syria in general, and in Idlib in particular where the terrorist organization of Nusra Front controls the majority of the area," Newsweek said citing the Syrian Arab News Agency.