Russia is still committed to its agreement with Turkey on the Syrian governorate of Idlib, despite many difficulties, the country’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on March 29 after arriving in Ankara to discuss several issues with Turkish officials.
“There is continues contact between the officers [Russians and Turks], who are playing a critical role in the implementation of Idlib agreement, and I’m sure that despite the tough situation in that area, we will move forward step by step,” Lavrov said answering a question by RT’s reporter on the fate of Idlib agreement during a press conference with his Turkish counterpart.
Lavrov added, that Moscow and Ankara had already succeeded in implementing one step, which is patrolling the demilitarized zone around Idlib. However, he stressed that radical militants should stop their attacks.
From his side, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that settling the situation in Idlib is a “joint responsibility” of Moscow and Ankara. The minister also acknowledged that the violations of the demilitarized agreement on Idlib has increased.
Under the Russian-Turkish agreement, which was reached last September, a 15-20km demilitarized zone was established around Idlib. However, radical militants are still present within the zone.
Russia and Turkey seem to be not willing to put an end to the demilitarized zone agreement, likely due to the lack of a more effective alternative. However, if the sides seek to achieve a further progress in their de-escalation efforts, a more effective approach should be developed.