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‘Terrorists entrenched there’: Kremlin rebukes Trump’s warning against Idlib offensive

‘Terrorists entrenched there’: Kremlin rebukes Trump’s warning against Idlib offensive
Trump’s warning against the Syrian operation in Idlib is “not a full, comprehensive approach” to the problem, the Kremlin’s spokesperson said, adding that a “terrorist nest” in Idlib is dangerous for the whole country.

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov was commenting on a tweet posted by US President Donald Trump on Monday, in which he urged Syrian President Bashar Assad not to “recklessly attack” Idlib, the last major city held by anti-government militants and terrorists. President Trump also issued a warning to Moscow and Tehran against making “a grave humanitarian mistake” by supporting the Syrian assault. “Don’t let that happen!” he said.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Peskov cautioned the US against “simply issuing warnings, without considering the very dangerous, negative potential for the whole situation in Syria.”

The case of Syria’s northwestern province remains an issue of “special concern” for Russia, Syria, and Turkey, Peskov said.

“A nest of terrorism has formed there. A quite large group of terrorists had entrenched there. This leads to general destabilization, and undermines the attempts to steer the situation to diplomatic and political settlement.”

Much of Idlib Province is controlled by an Al-Qaeda affiliate called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Among other issues, the presence of terrorists poses “a substantial threat” to the Russian Army’s outposts in Syria, Peskov told reporters. He said that the militants have used the province to launch numerous drone attacks on Khmeimim Air Base, which hosts Russian aircraft.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has recently said that terrorists in the area are simply holding civilians as “human shields.”

READ MORE: ‘Aid-delivering’ Syrian rebels: NYT shows warm, fuzzy side of Al-Qaeda in Idlib

Moscow has repeatedly alerted the international community to the dangers of terrorist factions operating in and around Idlib, and that they are being supplied with weapons and munitions from abroad. For the past several weeks, the Russian Defense Ministry has been warning about the militants’ plans to stage a fake chemical attack in Idlib to frame the Syrian government.

Leaders from Russia, Iran, and Turkey are scheduled to meet on Friday in Tehran. They are expected to discuss the strategy for Idlib.

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