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Putin urges elimination of hotbed of terrorism in Syria

The president stressed that the UN and global community should play a more active role in rendering humanitarian assistance to Syria's people without politicizing the issue or setting preconditions

SOCHI, February 14. /TASS/. Russia, Turkey and Iran must discuss practical steps for the elimination of the hotbed of terrorism in Syria’s Idlib Province, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a trilateral summit meeting on Syrian settlement in Sochi.

"We should agree on how to bring about the final de-escalation in Idlib. Ceasefire is maintained in the province, but this does not mean that we can tolerate the presence of terrorist groups in the area. For this reason I suggest considering concrete practical steps Russia, Turkey and Iran might take for the complete elimination of this hotbed of terrorism," Putin said.

Idlib is Syria’s sole large area still held by illegal armed groups. In 2017, the northern de-escalation zone was created there. It accommodated the militants who had refused to make peace with the authorities and lay down weapons and their families.

The Russian and Turkish presidents on September 17, 2018 agreed to create a 15-20 kilometer wide demilitarized zone along the line of engagement of Syria’s government forces and the armed opposition. Shortly after that Ankara asked for more time and to postpone joint patrolling Idlib, because it was unable to provide sufficient security guarantees.

The president stressed that  the United Nations and the global community should play a more active role in rendering humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people without politicizing the issue and setting preconditions.

He said about a million Syrian people still need access to humanitarian aid. "We expect that the entire global community, especially the UN and its relevant agencies will play a more active role in rendering assistance to all Syrians - without politicization and without preconditions," Putin said.