Syrian Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar said on Tuesday that it was still premature to talk about a reconciliation process in the province of Idlib since the situation in the militant-held region remains “fragile.”
“Today it is impossible to talk about a reconciliation process in Idlib, given that the situation is fragile and critical – it’s like a person balancing on a ball. This problem is connected with a number of other issues,” Haidar was quoted by the Al-Watan newspaper as saying in parliament during the budget discussions.
According to Haidar, “the political process in Idlib has come to a halt, even though a military operation was suspended.”
“The reason is that the Turkish side does not meet the obligations undertaken by it in Sochi,” he pointed out.
The minister suggested that Moscow does not want to damage its relations with Ankara, and therefore “seeks justification for [the latter] in the hope that Turkey will honour its commitments.”
“At the same time, Moscow is sure that Idlib will return under the control of the Syrian state, and is working very hard on this issue,” the minister stressed.
Meanwhile, the ministry is seeking to maintain contact with residents of the areas bordering the provinces of Latakia, Aleppo, and Hama, to assure the locals that the state will recapture the province and also find out more about the situation on the ground, Haidar noted.
On November 8, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that was too early to talk about the completion of creating a demilitarized zone in Idlib, as terrorists continue provocations.
Prior to that, on September 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed at talks in Sochi to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib along the contact line of the armed opposition and the government forces by October 15.
The withdrawal of heavy weaponry operated by the militants is also part of the agreement.