Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova talked on Thursday about Turkish concerns over the situation in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib.
This came a short time after the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that terrorist groups active in the city had violated the September 17 Sochi deal between Turkey and Russia, which calls for the creation of a demilitarized zone in the city.
Zakharova referred to difficulties on the road of creating the demilitarized zone, despite Turkey’s assurances that it succeeded in October in convincing groups fighting the Syrian army in the city of the importance of founding the zone.
Zakharova’s statements came only two days after the ministers of defense of both Turkey and Russia met in Moscow. During the meeting, the Russian minister asked his Turkish counterpart to act to bring the situation in Idlib under control.
Nevertheless, Turkey continues to be silent on the issue since the end of last month.
Istanbul introduced itself as a benefactor of the factions fighting in Idlib. It said it would be able to convince them to abide by the Sochi deal.
This is one reason why Hesham al-Naggar, an expert on militant groups, expects a military solution to the standoff in Idlib to be so soon.
Russia, he said, tries to show that it has the right to act while the factions fighting the Syrian army in Idlib continue to violate the Sochi agreement.
“Turkey will not, however, approve of any military actions against the terrorists in Idlib,” al-Naggar told al-Majie. “There are differences between Turkey and Russia, even if both states agree temporarily.”
Tahrir al-Sham allowed its military commander, known as Abu Khaled, to conduct an interview with the American journalist Belal Abdel Karim. In the interview, Abu Khaled, threatened to stage a “strong war” against the Syrian regime.
He added that the factions operating in Idlib had prepared well for battles against the Syrian army and had founded a joint operations room.