Russia and Turkey have confirmed their commitment to decreasing tensions on the ground in the fight against terrorism in Syria during the last round of consultations in Ankara, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday.
"Both sides confirmed their determination to ease tensions 'on the ground' in the process of continuing fighting terrorists, designated as such by the UN Security Council, as well as to defend the civilian population both within and outside the [Idlib] de-escalation zone and provide urgent humanitarian assistance to all who need it," the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Turkey was unable to fulfil several key commitments to solve the problems around Syria’s Idlib province. In particular, Ankara failed to separate the armed opposition, which is ready for dialogue with the government in the framework of the political process, from terrorists.
According to the Russian-Turkish memorandum, agreed upon by Presidents Putin and Erdogan in September 2018, the status quo for the presence of the Turkish military was agreed to be maintained, provided that all terrorist radical groups withdrew from the Idlib de-escalation zone by 15 October 2018. It was also stipulated that "effective measures need to be taken to ensure a stable cessation of hostilities" within the borders of this zone. Clause 7 of the memorandum called for joint Russian-Turkish patrols in the area.