Moscow (TM) – Russia has demanded that Turkey do more to tackle hardcore fighters in Syria’s Idlib province and fulfill promises it made as part of a deal with Moscow last year, Al Jazeera reported.
Turkey, which backs Syrian rebels, and Russia, the Syrian government’s principal foreign ally, agreed in September to create a demilitarized zone in the northwest Idlib region that would be cleared of all heavy weapons and hardline fighters.
Ankara pledged to disarm and remove the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militants dominating there, according to the deal, which prevented the Russia-backed Syrian government from launching a major military operation in the region to remove the group once affiliated with al-Qaeda.
Speaking at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the situation in Idlib was rapidly deteriorating and that Tahrir al-Sham was trying to seize control of the entire area.
“Given the extremely difficult situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, we expect our Turkish partners to activate their efforts to ultimately turn the tide and to fully carry out the obligations they took upon themselves,” Zakharova said in a statement.
The comments came with Russian President Vladimir Putin due to meet with the leaders of Turkey and Iran next week at a summit in the southern Russian city of Sochi, where they are expected to discuss Syria again.
This post was originally written for and published by Turkish Minute and appears here with permission.