Russia says al-Nusra Front presence in Idlib contradicts Russian agreements with Turkey
Turkey - SMART
On Monday, the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the presence of the al-Nusra Front in the Idlib governorate, Northern Syria, contradicts the agreements between Moscow and Ankara to resolve the security issue in the area.
The al-Nusra Front was a prominent organization in Syria, which announced its secession from al-Qaeda in July 2016, and changed its name to the Fatah al-Sham front, and formed a military alliance thereafter, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The United States does not consider the change of name to change the fact that the organization has been classified as a terrorist group in the lists of the International Security Council since 2013.
Lavrov reported to Russian media that Russia is ready to continue taking action according to the Russian-Turkish agreement in Idlib, which calls for the establishment of a demilitarized zone around the proposed safe zone.
The Kremlin Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said that the Idlib Agreement with Turkey is not fully implemented, adding that the situation in Idlib still causes concerns for Damascus and Moscow.
Earlier on Wednesday, the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said that there are continuous violations against the de-escalation and the demilitarized zone agreements in Idlib after the al-Nusra Front, referring to the HTS, gained control of most areas in Idlib.
The Idlib governorate is included in the de-escalation agreement, which was concluded in the December 2017 Astana Talks between the guarantors Turkey, Russia, and Iran, and in the demilitarized zone agreement concluded between Russia and Turkey on Sept. 17, 2018.
The HTS gained total control of areas in the governorate of Idlib, western Aleppo and northern Hama after clashes with the Free Syrian Army. The clashed killed and injured dozens of militants and civilians.