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    Smoke rises from the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on March 26, 2015 following bombing by rebels. Islamist fighters have seized 17 checkpoints from Syrian forces in clashes around the city of Idlib that have cost at least 71 lives, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

    Syrian Foreign Minister: Government to Focus on Terrorist Defeat in Idlib

    © AFP 2019 / Karam Al-Masri
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    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - The Syrian government’s priority is to free the northwestern Idlib province from terrorists, the country's foreign minister Walid Moallem stated.

    Speaking at Damascus University on Sunday Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said that the country's authorities were in constant coordination with Russia on Idlib, according to state news agency SANA.

    He accused Turkey of violating the October deal with Russia to set up a buffer zone in the province between Syrian troops and armed opposition, but stressed that Damascus preferred political dialogue.

    READ MORE: Premature to Talk About Reconciliation in Idlib, Situation Fragile — Minister

    Speaking about the constitutional committee, Moallem said it was too early to say when it would convene after accusing unspecified Western countries and Turkey of stalling its formation.

    The mentioned 9-12 mile deep demilitarized zone in Idlib was agreed to be set up by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on September 17, along the contact line of the armed opposition and the government forces.

    The Idlib province in northwest Syria is the last remaining stronghold of terrorist groups operating in the country, including Jabhat al-Nusra* terrorist organization, which has joined forces with four other jihadi groups in Idlib to form a terrorist alliance called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, widely regarded as the dominant force on the ground in the province.

    *Jabhat al-Nusra — a terrorist group banned in Russia


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    terrorism, Syrian Civil War, Al-Nusra Front, Walid al-Moallem, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Idlib, Turkey, Syria
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