MOSCOW, March 4. /TASS/. Observation posts of the Turkish forces in Syria's Idlib de-escalation zone were located in the fortified areas of terrorist groups and practically merged with them, official spokesman for the RUssian Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Wednesday.
Konashenkov reminded that in accordance with the Sochi agreements from September 2018, Turkey pledged to oust terrorists with their heavy artillery for 15-20 km from the Idlib zone. However, instead, terrorist groups Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (also known as Jebhat al-Nusra, banned in Russia), Islamic Party of Turkestan (banned in Russia) and Hurras al-Din have been ousting militants from the "moderate opposition" to the Turkish border in the north for the last 18 months, he added.
"Fortified areas of terrorists have practically merged with Turkish observation posts set up in accordance with the agreement," Konashenkov noted.
Shellings of Hmeymim air base
Russian air base in Hmeymim and Syrian cities have been subjected to daily shellings by militants because Turkey had not fulfilled its commitments on establishing a demilitarized area in the Idlib de-escalation zone, official spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Wednesday.
"Attacks and massive artillery shellings of neighboring peaceful settlements and of the Russian air base Hmeymim have turned from sporadic into daily," Konashenkov said.
At the end of February, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said that eight terrorist attacks with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles have been staged at Hmeymim since January 9.
Transfer of forces
Turkey has already transferred to Syria's Idlib de-escalation zone forces as large as a mechanized division but the West prefers not to notice Ankara's open violation of international law, Konashenkov told reporters.
"No one in the West notices the actions of the Turkish side which has already transferred to Syria's Idlib forces as large as a mechanized division in order to 'implement the Sochi agreements at any cost'," Konashenkov said.
The Sochi agreement between Russian and Turkey from September 2018 envisages establishing a buffer zone 15-20 km from the borders of the Idlib de-escalation zone, in order to disengage militants in Idlib and Syrian government forces. Russia has repeatedly stated that Turkey had not fulfilled its commitments on ousting terrorists from the demilitarized zone.