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Situation in Idlib in focus of Assad’s meeting with Russian delegation, Moscow says

The sides have also discussed measures to improve the humanitarian situation, to ensure post-conflict restoration and to create conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons

MOSCOW, June 20. /TASS/. A Russian delegation met with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss the situation in Idlib, the Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The Russian delegation included Russian president’s special envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin and defense ministry officials.

"The sides discussed in detail the situation on the ground, including around the Idlib de-escalation zone, as well as further anti-terrorist efforts, up to complete extermination of the terrorist threat," the ministry said.

Apart from that, the sides discussed measures to improve the humanitarian situation, to ensure post-conflict restoration and to create necessary conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, the ministry noted.

Other topics included the formation of the constitutional committee "as part of the process of political settlement conducted by the Syrians and brokered by the United States on the basis of respect to Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity."

Four de-escalation zones were established in Syria under as agreement reached by the three Syrian ceasefire guarantor nations, namely Russia, Iran and Turkey, in May 2017. Three of them are now controlled by Damascus while the fourth one located in the Idlib governorate and partially in the neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo governorates is still outside Damascus’ control, with a larger part of it being seized by Jabhat al-Nusra (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) militants.