Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the decision by Moscow and Ankara on Idlib is an intermediate step, adding that the demilitarized zone will prevent the shelling of Syrian troops at Hmeymim base.
“As for the Russian-Turkish agreement on Idlib, it is aimed primarily at eradicating the terrorist threat. This is certainly an intermediate step, because only a demilitarized zone is being created,” Lavrov said.
According to him, this is a necessary step, as it will prevent shelling from the de-escalation zone in Idlib on the positions of Syrian troops and the Russian military base in Hmeymim.
The top Russian diplomat said the Nusra Front terrorist group should leave the demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib province by mid-October.
“Nusra Front terrorists should leave this demilitarized zone by mid-October; all heavy weaponry should be withdrawn from there,” Lavrov told a press conference.
Previously, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi, during which they have agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib by October 15.
The city of Idlib is the last remaining stronghold of foreign-backed insurgents and al-Qaeda-linked terror groups in Syria.
Commenting on the new anti-Russian sanctions of the United States, Lavrov said they are another manifestation of unscrupulous competition.
“As for the new US sanctions against Russian legal entities and individuals, we have already ceased to be surprised. Specifically, with respect to Sukhoi, a plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, these sanctions are, of course, another manifestation of unscrupulous competition,” Lavrov said.