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Status quo in Idlib unsustainable — Russian diplomat

April 25, 6:30 UTC+3 UN

Russia continues to work with its Turkish partners in order to forge a sustainable solution to the issue

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UN, April 25. /TASS/. The present-day situation in the Syrian province of Idlib, where militants continue to attack pro-government forces, is unsustainable, Russia’s deputy UN envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, told the UN Security Council session on humanitarian situation in Syria.

"The situation in Idlib remains unstable. Militants of the former Nusrah group (the Jabhat al-Nusrah terrorist group outlawed in Russia), which transformed into a group of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, continue their attacks on the government forces," the diplomat said on Wednesday. "We don’t know for how long this status quo may continue. Frankly, it seems unsustainable to us."

Russia continues to work with its Turkish partners in order to forge a sustainable solution to the Idlib issue, he said.

The diplomat added that militant groups currently active in the province "attack indiscriminately, targeting civilian infrastructure" and killing civilians.

"False human rights activists from the White Helmets organization have been preparing more provocations in order to accuse the legitimate government of using chemical agents," he said.

Four de-escalation zones were set up in Syria in compliance with the agreement reached at the Astana talks in May 2017 by representatives of Russia, Iran and Turkey. The territory of three of them was placed under the control of the Syrian authorities in 2018. The fourth zone located in the province of Idlib and parts of the neighboring provinces of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo is still outside the government’s control and most of its territory has been seized by Jabhat al-Nusra.

Deputy Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Lieutenant-General Stanislav Gadzhimagomedov said on Wednesday that militants currently control 99% of the Idlib de-escalation zone.

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