Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the remnants of Daesh terrorists and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra militants continue to stage provocations and are reluctant to abide by a ceasefire agreement in the northwestern province of Idlib.
Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow on Monday that the terrorist outfits, especially militants from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terror group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, are constantly breaching the de-escalation zone agreement by attacking civilians and carrying out provocations against the Syrian Arab Army in the troubled region.
The top Russian diplomat went on to say that the Syrian government had every right to protect people living in the country, including Idlib province, which is under the control of al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.
“There’s a limit to everything. The situation in Idlib and other areas where terrorists are still active cannot go on like this forever. We will proceed from the fact that the Syrian government has every right to ensure the safety of its people on its territory,” Lavrov stressed, adding, “As Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, Russia cannot tolerate these terrorists remaining safe there like in a preserved area.”
Turkey and Russia brokered a deal in September 2018 to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib that would be evacuated of all heavy weapons and militants.
Iran, Russia, and Turkey, the three guarantor states of a ceasefire regime in Syria, have time and again expressed their determination to continue their fight against terrorism in the Arab country.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has recently called for progress in stalled talks on a so-called buffer zone around Idlib province in a meeting with the Russian president’s special envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev in Damascus.
The Syrian president also stressed his government’s determination to eliminate terrorist groups which are holed up in Idlib and attack civilians in neighboring areas.
President Assad called for the removal of any “obstacles” blocking the full implementation of the deal.
Elsewhere in the remarks, Lavrov expressed fear that the US forces, which are illegally stationed in Syria, could release all detained foreign terrorists. He said that such an act by the United States would be as “a terrible crime.”
The remarks come as several governments have been grappling with the problem of what to do with captured fighters from their country, the women who married them and their children.
A UN official has recently called on countries to take responsibility for their nationals, including thousands of children of Daesh fighters, who are stuck at a camp controlled by US-backed militants in northeast Syria.