“Despite the success notched up in the fight against international terrorism on the Syrian soil, the situation there is far from being stable,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing in Moscow on Thursday.
“The terrorist groups of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Guardians of Religion Organization have entrenched themselves in Idlib province. The activities of these outfits have been partially restrained as a result of deployment of Turkish forces in Idlib de-escalation zone and joint Russian-Turkish patrols on the M4 highway at the section between Saraqib and Jisr al-Shughur,” she added.
“Ankara is, nevertheless, delaying to honor its commitments under the latest Turkish-Russian deal concluded on March 5,” the diplomat pointed out.
“The purge of the remaining pockets of Daesh, which regularly reemerge on both banks of the Euphrates River, is underway. However, terrorists avail themselves of enclaves within a radius of 55 kilometers around the illegal US military base in al-Tanf region as well as US-occupied and oil-rich Trans-Euphrates area. Syrian government authorities are still unable to access these areas of the country, and run basic services,” Zakharova said.
On March 5, Russia and Turkey came to an agreement on the ceasefire regime in Idlib, where Turkish aggression against the Syrian government had earlier risked starting a war.
The ceasefire came a few months after the Syrian army launched an anti-terror operation against foreign-sponsored militants following the latter’s failure to honor a de-escalation agreement between Ankara and Moscow.
Ankara, which itself supports a number of anti-Damascus militant outfits in Idlib, claims that Syrian offensives there have killed dozens of its troops. It has threatened to attack the Syrian military unless government forces abandoned the liberated areas, and asked Moscow to “stop” Damascus.
Turkey has, meanwhile, sent thousands of troops and heavy military hardware into Idlib in an unprecedented incursion to back the militants.
The Syrian government has vowed to liberate entire Syria, including Idlib, which remains the last major bastion for the foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists in the country.