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Russia calls for regime’s control over north Syria

January 17, 2019 at 4:11 am

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets in Moscow, Russia on 28 December 2018 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]

The Syrian regime must take control over the country’s north, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said yesterday.

“We are convinced that the best and only solution is the transfer of these territories under the control of the Syrian government, and of Syrian security forces and administrative structures,” Lavrov stressed during a press conference.

His remarks came in response to the recent US calls to set up a Turkish-controlled “security zone” in Syria’s northern area.

On Tuesday, Turkey said it would set up the “security zone” in northern Syria following a suggestion from the US President Donald Trump, who announced last month that he was pulling American troops from the country. The US-allied Kurds – who control much of northern Syria – later rejected the idea, fearing a Turkish offensive against their territory.

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Russia is a long-time supporter of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

The Russian minister pointed to a “progress” in resolving Syria’s seven-year conflict, adding that the focus should remain on Idlib – Syria’s northwestern province that earlier this month fell under the full control of a jihadist group dominated by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

“The Syrian settlement is progressing, though of course more slowly than we would like,” Lavrov reiterated, stressing that the fight against terrorism “must be completed.”

“Now the main hotbed of terrorism is Idlib,” he noted.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.