Moscow urges Ankara to 'fully implement' Idlib ceasefire agreement

Russia on Monday called on Turkey for the “the full implementation” the Idlib ceasefire agreement in Syria, while calling attention to the “terrorist threat’’ in the region, which it said was escalating in certain areas.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the remarks following talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shourky, Russia state-run TASS news agency reported.

In March 2020, NATO-member Turkey and Russia, which back opposing sides in Syria's war, agreed on the ceasefire to halt an escalation of violence in Syria’s war-battered Idlib province. Eighteen months after the agreement, both Turkey and Russia have complained about repeated violations of the truce. 

Terrorist groups continue to stage attacks from the Idlib zone at the Syrian government army positions and against the Russian contingent, TASS cited Lavrov as saying.

"That is why, Russia unequivocally reiterates the necessity of the full implementation of the agreements reached by Presidents (of Russia Vladimir) Putin and (of Turkey Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan on the isolation of terrorists, first of all from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, however they’re disguising themselves, with the ultimate goal of exterminating these groups," Lavrov said. "We are guided by this approach and the sooner it is done, the better".

Lavrov’s remarks arrive after Erdoğan and Putin on Wednesday met in Russia’s Sochi to discuss the violence in Idlib.

Large parts of Idlib are controlled by the Islamist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) group that has its origins in Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch Jabhat al-Nusra. 

Turkey also maintains troops in Idlib under the framework of the Astana Agreement. Turkish and Russian military convoys jointly patrol parts of the province.

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