The Syrian government has every right to protect people living in the country, including Idlib province, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference on Monday.
According to him, the remaining members of the Islamic State and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra) terror groups outlawed in Russia continue to stage provocations and are reluctant to abide by ceasefire agreements. “This is what is going on in the Idlib de-escalation zone,” Lavrov said.
“We seek to ensure the implementation of Russian-Turkish agreements on resolving the Jabhat al-Nusra issue in the Idlib de-escalation zone,” he noted.
“As Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, Russia cannot tolerate these terrorists remaining safe there like in a preserved area,” Lavrov said.
“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,” the Russian top diplomat emphasized.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at their Sochi meeting on September 17, 2018, agreed to create a demilitarized zone along the line of contact in the Idlib province that would be 15-20 kilometers wide.
However, terrorists continue to control a large part of that area.