MOSCOW, August 30. /TASS/. Inaction concerning the situation in the Syrian province of Idlib, where a hotbed of terrorism has come to be, does not bode well, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"The situation in Syria can definitely deteriorate, as the situation in Idlib leaves much to be desired," he said when asked if Russia’s upcoming drills in the Mediterranean Sea had anything to do with the Idlib sitation. "Indeed, the hotbed of terrorism that came to be there does not bode well if the current inaction continues," the Kremlin spokesman noted.
"This is why enhanced precautionary measures are reasonable and justifiable," Peskov added.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced earlier on Thursday that Russia will hold large-scale drills in the Mediterranean Sea on August 1-8, which would involve 25 vessels and 30 aircraft from the country’s Navy and Aerospace Force.
Idlib is the only Syrian province still controlled by illegal armed groups. In 2017, a de-escalation zone was established in the region, where militants reluctant to lay down their arms can move together with their families. According to United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, Idlib currently hosts about 10,000 militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda terror groups (both outlawed in Russia).
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed hope that western countries would refrain from stymieing a counter-terrorism operation against Jabhat al-Nusra in Idlib.