BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:30 P.M.) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented on the situation in the Syrian province of Idlib, while speaking at a press conference alongside his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on Tuesday.
Lavrov said that the Idlib de-escalation zone, just like other such zones in Syria, was based on the precondition that the cease fire would not apply to terrorist groups, such as Jabhat Al-Nusra.
Lavrov added that those groups which do not want to be associated with terrorist groups would need to separate themselves physically, or risk being destroyed along with them.
Cavusoglu echoed Lavrov’s remarks, saying: “We need to identify these terrorists with Russia with our intelligence, with military power, and neutralise them.”
SOT, Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister (Russian): ““Objectively, of course, we feel the desire of the West, first of all, the USA but not only the USA not to allow the “Astana Process” to achieve concrete results and to present it as not quite successful. These attempts have been made before as well and they are likely to continue. But the fact that Turkey, Russia and Iran, while having approaches towards the Syrian crisis that don’t always coincide, have found the wisdom and willingness to solve concrete problems, I think, this all has made a drastic change in the Syrian situation. The so called ISIS is virtually defeated, there are just some separate, divided groups. The main task now is, as we have already mentioned, Jabhat al-Nusra. I don’t think that the USA introduced sanctions in order to upset the balance of the “Astana Three”. But, on the whole, the West’s position, you have mentioned refugees, the West’s position on refugees arouses surprise, reserve.”
SOT, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister (Turkish): “The thing it has to do with is simple; with a resultant strategy, we need to identify these terrorists with Russia with our intelligence, with military power and neutralise them. Bombing Idlib, bombing schools, bombing schools, killing civilians creates a massacre and creates a serious crisis if there is a terrorist. It would be a disaster. The catastrophic problems continue for a long time. For that reason we have to distinguish radical opposition from oppositional. The terrorists at various points are certain, we have to identify them. In fact, oppositional and community are very annoyed. We must all fight together against them. It is also important for our nation’s security.”
SOT, Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister (Russian): “As for Idlib, in addition to what I have already said in my introduction speech, I will make the following remark. The Idlib de-escalation zone, as well as all the other de-escalation zones, was created under certain conditions. And one of the conditions was that the ceasefire did not embrace terrorists, and those military organisations that didn’t want to be associated with terrorists should territorially separate themselves from them in order for the implacable groups and, first of all, Jabhat al-Nusra, to be destroyed. This agreement is followed in Idlib as well. The situation there is more complicated than in the other areas, and so it was from the very beginning, and one of the reasons for that was Jabhat al-Nusra’s domination.”