MOSCOW, August 29. /TASS/. Terrorists in Idlib are trying to hold civilians hostage to be used as human shields and this festering ‘abscess’ has to be eliminated, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday after talks with his Saudi counterpart Abdel Al-Jubeir.
"The primary focus of the meeting between the Russian and Turkish foreign and defense ministers in Moscow with the participation of the special services was on Idlib," Lavrov said.
"For understandable reasons, Idlib is the last major stronghold of terrorists who are trying to gamble on the status of the de-escalation zone and hold civilians as human shields and bring the armed formations ready for negotiations with the Syrian government to their knees. So, from all standpoints, this ‘abscess’ has to be liquidated," the Russian foreign minister said.
Moscow stands for urgently separating the opposition from Jabhat al-Nusra (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) in Idlib and simultaneously carrying out an operation against the terrorists, Lavrov said.
"A full political understanding exists between Moscow and Ankara. It is necessary to urgently separate regular armed formations from Jabhat al-Nusra gunmen and simultaneously lay the groundwork for an operation against these terrorists and do everything to minimize risks to civilians," the Russian top diplomat pointed out.
"How do you translate this political accord into the language of practical action - this is what the militaries of Russia and Turkey, which are handling the situation ‘on the ground,’ are talking about," Lavrov said.
At their negotiations on August 24, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu hashed over the situation in Idlib. Despite the absence of an unambiguous accord on ways to achieve peace in the province, the foreign ministers stated the common goal of rooting out this terrorist hotspot.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan will discuss the Idlib situation soon focusing on separating the opposition from terrorists.
The Russian and Turkish foreign ministers also discussed setting up a Syrian constitutional committee as quickly as possible and contributing efforts to assist the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.