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Russia supports Syria, which has to respond to inadmissible provocations in Idlib — Lavrov

Russia’s top diplomat pointed, among other, to attempts to attack Russia’s Hmeimym airbase
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Sergei Fadeichev/TASS
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Moscow supports the Syrian army’s actions of responding to inadmissible provocations in Idlib, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Wednesday.

Russia’s top diplomat noted that militants continued to shell the positions of the Syrian army and civilian facilities. He also pointed to attempts to attack Russia’s Hmeimym airbase.

"It is only natural that the Syrian armed forces, reaffirming their commitment to the original agreements on Idlib, including an agreement on a ceasefire, respond to such inadmissible provocations," Lavrov stressed. "We support them in this."

"The Syrian army’s actions are a response to a flagrant violation of the agreements on Idlib," he went on to say. "Contrary to some estimates, let me emphasize that the Syrian troops are not pushing militants and terrorists back on a foreign territory but on their own soil, thereby reestablishing the legitimate Syrian government’s control over its territories."

Lavrov stressed that the coverage of developments in Idlib indicated that "no one remembers what kind of agreements were reached in September 2018 and October 2019." "Judging by hysterical comments by some Western representatives, one can get the impression that, at some point, Russia and Turkey agreed to put the issue on the back burner, leave terrorists alone and let them do whatever they want," he said. "This is not true. No one has ever promised to leave terrorists unscathed in the Idlib de-escalation zone."

Situation in Idlib

The situation in Idlib deteriorated dramatically after the Russian and Turkish militaries had made another attempt to enforce a ceasefire. Terrorists only intensified their attacks instead, killing Russian and Turkish military specialists. The Syrian government army took retaliatory actions against extremists and gained control of the city of Saraqib near Idlib on February 5.

In the morning of February 11, the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition launched mass-scale attacks on the Syrian government army. The opposition’s offensive was carried out with the fire support from the Turkish artillery. Militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra terror group (outlawed in Russia) took an active part in the fighting. Syrian forces repelled these attacks, with militants sustaining heavy losses.