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4 Mar, 2020 04:39

Terrorist fortifications in Idlib have ‘merged’ with Turkish outposts – Russian Defense Ministry

Terrorist fortifications in Idlib have ‘merged’ with Turkish outposts – Russian Defense Ministry

Turkey has allowed its observation posts, established under a 2018 deal with Moscow, to virtually merge with terrorist bases in Idlib, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, amid a Turkish assault against advancing Syrian forces.

“The fortified areas of the terrorists have merged with the Turkish observation posts deployed under the 2018 Sochi agreement,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said early on Wednesday.

Attacks and mass artillery fire on neighboring civilian settlements and the Russian airbase at Khmeimim turned from sporadic to daily.

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Europe and the United States have consistently ignored Turkey’s failure to abide by the 2018 deal, the spokesman continued, stating that neither is “interested in the actual humanitarian situation inside and around Idlib.”

All of Russia's official requests to the UN and Western countries – who delivered humanitarian aid across the Turkish border and all of it went not to refugees, but to terrorists – remained unanswered. All we heard were the lamentations about the need to ‘preserve the Sochi agreements at all costs.’

Despite repeated attacks on civilians and clear links to known terrorist groups, Western media have transformed Idlib’s armed factions into so-called 'moderates,' the spokesman said.

“Where among these supposedly ‘opposition’ fighters in the Turkish-controlled zone was [Abu Mohammad] al-Julani – the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist group officially recognized by the UN – together with his nearly 20,000 cutthroats?” he asked.

At a click of the finger, all of Idlib’s terrorists became supposedly the ‘representatives of the moderate opposition’ in the Western media. However, it is not clear how the ISIS chief al-Baghdadi was recently ‘pinpointed’ and killed, according to the US, amid all these ‘moderates.’

Ankara’s ongoing attacks on the Syrian Army as it advances on the terrorist groups amounts to a “violation of international law,” and yet has gone utterly “unnoticed by anyone in the West,” Konashenkov said, despite the latter’s professed commitment to a ‘rules-based order.’

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The remarks come amid hostilities between Turkey and Syria in Idlib, which escalated last month. Turkey sent thousands of troops across the Syrian border in an effort to push Syrian government forces out of the province.

Idlib is the last large stronghold of anti-government armed groups in Syria. Turkey was supposed to use the influence it has on some of the groups to suppress jihadists, who are determined to continue fighting, and ensure a lasting ceasefire. In practice, attacks in Idlib continued, and last year Damascus forces went on the offensive, capturing large swathes of land in the south of the province.

Damascus has long accused Turkey of foul play, saying Ankara was fueling violence against Syrian soldiers and civilians rather than curbing it.

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