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    Smoke raises in the Syrian village of Kafr Ain in the southern countryside of Idlib province after an airstrike on September 7, 2018

    Most of Syria's Idlib De-Escalation Zone Still Controlled by Militants – Moscow

    © AFP 2018 / Anas AL-DYAB
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Large part of Syria's Idlib de-escalation zone is still controlled by militants, Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has stated.

    "The Idlib de-escalation zone remains a 'hot spot'on Syria's map, a large part of it is controlled today by terrorists gathered around the al-Nusra Front* within the structure dubbed Hayat Tahrir al-Sham," Zakharova told a briefing.

    According to Moscow, the terrorism hotbed in Idlib destabilizes the situation in Syria and undermines the work toward the political settlement of the conflict.

    Moscow does not understand what Washington meant with its alleged requests for permission to "operate" in Syria's Idlib and therefore needs further clarification on the matter, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry noted.

    "For us, this statement is raising quite a lot of questions, and considering that it was made publicly, we would like to ask, also publicly, what it was about, what Mr. Jeffrey meant. Because we don't really understand this statement," Maria Zakharova said.

    The US Secretary of State's special adviser on Syria, Jim Jeffrey, said the United States had repeatedly asked Russia for permission to "operate" in Idlib in order to eliminate remaining terrorists, Reuters news agency reported earlier in the day.

    Russian officials have repeatedly warned that terrorists were planning a false-flag chemical weapons attack in Idlib with an aim to provoke Western retaliation against the Syrian government.

    READ MORE: Syrian Conflict Won't be Settled Until Idlib Issue is Resolved — Official

    Russia, Turkey and Iran are the guarantors of the ceasefire regime in Syria, where the government forces have been fighting numerous opposition groups, as well as militant and terrorist organizations since 2011. Moscow has also been assisting Damascus through supporting the struggle against the terrorist groups and providing humanitarian aid to civilians.

    Russia Calls on Ukraine to Immediately Release Journalist Vyshinsky

    Moscow demands the immediate release of the head of RIA Novosti Ukraine portal, Kirill Vyshinsky, detained in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted.

    "We demand the immediate release of Kirill Vyshinsky, and before that — to provide him with plausible conditions of detention. We demand timely medical assistance. We call on the international community to influence the lawlessness that prevails in Ukraine," Zakharova told a briefing.

    According to the spokeswoman, deteriorating health of the detained journalists was particularly alarming, as the journalist is denied high-quality medical care that he needed.

    READ MORE: Ukraine's Court Sends Vyshinsky to Hospital for Urgent Treatment — Lawyer

    The diplomat urged the international human rights groups to pay attention to the catastrophic situation around the rights of journalists in Ukraine.

    On September 5, Vyshinsky's health suddenly deteriorated and he was sent to a hospital in the middle of a court hearing on the renewal or change of his custody. On September 6, a Ukrainian court ruled to prolong the journalist's detention by another 60 days.

    French Report on RT, Sputnik Has 'Fake Essence'

    "This document, which can hardly be called an expert one due to its abundance of groundless claims and propaganda cliches, gives rise to anti-Russia sentiments and hostile attacks on our media working in France," Zakharova said.

    Groundless accusations against the RT broadcaster and the Sputnik news agency reflect the "fake essence" of the report of French ministries' think tanks, which suggests that the journalists of the two outlets should not be accredited or invited to press conferences, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressed.

    "RT and Sputnik are openly called propagandists in France, considered something that cannot be regarded as media. Moreover, this report claims that these information resources are engaged exclusively in propaganda, while there is no evidence and even arguments in support of such allegations, and this is, in my opinion, an example of the very fake essence that they urge to fight against," Zakharova stated.

    READ MORE: Russia to Retaliate If RT, Sputnik Denied Accreditation in France — Lawmaker

    The spokeswoman noted that the report could be aimed at preparing restrictive measures against media in France.

    "In fact, we think that all this does not so much target RT and Sputnik, but rather serves to justify the measures to limit freedom of speech, which are being prepared by the French authorities," Zakharova said.

    The report was prepared by the CAPS center with the French Foreign Ministry and the IRSEM center of the Ministry of the Armed Forces and published on Tuesday. The document enumerates steps to deal with the manipulation of information.

    *al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra, known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham is a terrorist group banned in Russia

    Related:

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    Last Battle: Syrian Army Ready to Launch Offensive, Liberate Idlib – Syrian MP
    Drones Downed Near Hmeymim Base Launched From Idlib Zone - Russian Military
    Pompeo Pumps Idlib Diplomacy
    Tags:
    terrorists, chemical weapons, arrest, Al-Nusra Front, Kirill Vyshinsky, Maria Zakharova, Syria, Ukraine, Russia
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