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Russia Accuses 'Terrorist Factions' of Undermining Idlib's Ceasefire Deal

Russia Accuses 'Terrorist Factions' of Undermining Idlib's Ceasefire Deal

Thursday, 26 March, 2020 - 12:15
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during a news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia (File photo: Reuters)
Moscow - Raed Jabr

Russian Ministry of Defense warned against attempts to undermine the Russian-Turkish agreement on Syria's Idlib, noting that some forces, which Ankara has no control over, continue to launch provocative operations. The ministry called on all parties to end escalations.

Russia's daily Vedomosti addressed the recent developments in Idlib as one of the main priorities for Moscow. It reported that Turkey and Russia failed to prolong the course of the joint patrols kicked off nine days ago on the M4 road.

Two sources close to the Russian Defense Ministry told the newspaper that the second patrol, scheduled on March 23, was concluded over a short distance due to problems encountered by the Turkish side in ensuring its security.

The Russian Ministry of Defense revealed Tuesday that terrorists had bombed two Turkish armored vehicles in Idlib.

Major General Oleg Goravlov, the director of the Hmeimim Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria, said Tuesday that the terrorists who are not under the Turkish control continue to execute operations to destabilize the de-escalation region.

Goravlov indicated that the terrorists planted an improvised explosive device on the road where the Turkish convoy drove its patrol near Sefohen in Idlib. The device exploded damaging the two vehicles and injuring two Turkish soldiers.

He also reported that over the past 72 hours, terrorist elements carried out seven bombing operations in Idlib, while no violations of the ceasefire were observed by the armed factions loyal to Turkey.

Vedomosti also quoted military sources as saying that the recent two-day visit of the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to Syria focused on efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that this was a major issue discussed by Shoygu in Damascus, especially in terms that Moscow could resort to scaling down the number of its forces from in Syria, in the event of increasing virus infections.

The Ministry of Defense announced that Shoygu was tested for coronavirus as soon as he returned from Syria.

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