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Russia, Turkey to resume join patrol missions along M4 highway in Syria soon — Lavrov

The Turkish side reiterated its commitments to fight against terrorism and separate terrorists from the opposition that is ready for dialogue

MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. Russia and Turkey will continue patrolling the M4 highway in Syria as soon as the situation in Idlib stabilizes, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Al Arabiya television channel.

According to the minister, joint patrol missions along the M4 highway were suspended due to security considerations as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) terrorists keep in staging armed provocations, attacking positions of the Syrian government army and attempting to attack the Russian airbase at Hmeymim. The Turkish side, in his words, has reiterated its commitments under the Russian-Turkish memorandum to fight against terrorism and separate terrorists from the opposition that is ready for dialogue.

"We only have to attack terrorists’ positions and exterminate their only nest in Syria. In line with the memorandum, our Turkish colleagues bear the bulk of responsibility for that. Combating terrorism is number one task. I can assure you that joint patrolling of the M4 highway will soon be continued, as soon as the situation calms down," he said.

The Russian top diplomat stressed that in such situation the Syrian government army and its allies had no need to conduct any operations in Idlib. Moreover, the armed confrontation between the Syrian government and the opposition is generally over. "There are only two hotbeds of tension. The first one is Idlib, which is controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group, however territories controlled by it are now shrinking," he noted. "The second one is the Euphrates’ east bank, where illegally deployed American troops have sides with the separatist forces and are irresponsibly flirting with the Kurds."

According to Lavrov, the United States has brought an American company to the area to pump oil for its own purposes in violation of Syria’s sovereignty and such actions create nervous situation in the region. "Turkey and countries with Kurdish population think that it is playing with fire. We want the Kurds of Iran, Turkey and Syria to live in harmony with the population of these countries and use their minority rights. We also believe that if they fuel separatism the region may flare up. I hope the Americans understand that they must think not only about elections beginning in a month and a half but also about the future of the region, which is one of the most important ones in the world," Lavrov stressed.