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Russia praises Turkey's efforts in Idlib, Syria

People return home after the cease-fire agreement for Syria's Idlib, along Turkey's southern border on 11 April 2020 [Muhammed Abdullah/Anadolu Agency]
People return home after the cease-fire agreement for Syria's Idlib, along Turkey's southern border on 11 April 2020 [Muhammed Abdullah/Anadolu Agency]

Russia on Thursday praised Turkey’s efforts in Idlib, northwestern Syria that aim to eliminate terrorists, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking at a news conference in the capital, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow expects the Turkish military to separate opposition groups from what it called “terrorists” in the region.

“This work [to oust radical groups] is met with active opposition from radical groups remaining in the de-escalation zone. In this regard, we mark Ankara’s efforts to oust militants from the M4 highway area,” she said.

The strategic M4 highway, also known as the Aleppo-Al Hasakah road, is about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Turkey’s southern border. It connects Idlib to the cities of Aleppo and Latakia.

Last month, Ankara and Moscow agreed to “cease all military actions along the line of contact in the Idlib de-escalation area.” Joint Russian-Turkish patrols along the M4 were part of the deal reached after the martyrdom of 34 Turkish soldiers in Syria.

READ: Assad is in the dock as his henchmen go on trial for torture

Idlib has long been under siege by Assad regime forces and its allies, and previous cease-fires for the region were plagued by violations.

Turning to the situation in Libya, Zakharova said Moscow is concerned about recent developments in the war-torn country.

“The intensification of hostilities between forces supporting the Government of National Accord and units of the Libyan National Army indicates, in our view, that the cease-fire announced this January is no longer being respected by the warring parties,” she said.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: warlord Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.

Libya’s legitimate government has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since last April, and international efforts to enforce a cease-fire have proven unsuccessful.

In January this year, the conflicting parties announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by Turkey and Russia. However, the talks for a permanent armistice ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.

READ: Is Haftar’s stubbornness behind his military setbacks?

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