Russia accuses Turkey of failing on Syria’s Idlib

Displaced Syrian children speak with Turkish soldiers as their convoy is parked near the town of Batabu on the highway linking Idlib to the Syrian Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, on March 2, 2020. (AFP)

Russia accused Turkey on Wednesday of failing to meet its obligations under a pact to create a demilitarised zone in Syria’s Idlib province and of helping opposition forces instead.

The RIA news agency quoted a Russian defense ministry spokesman as saying “terrorist” fortifications had merged with Turkish outposts in Idlib, resulting in daily attacks on Russia’s Hmeimim air base in Syria.

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Turkey had amassed troop numbers in Idlib equal to a mechanised division, violating international law, the Russian spokesman said.

Turkish military spokesmen were not immediately available for comment.

The Russian accusation came on the eve of a Thursday meeting in Moscow between President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

They are expected to try to de-escalate tensions that have brought Turkey and Russia dangerously close to direct military confrontation.

Syria map from MSF (MSF)

Syria map from MSF (MSF)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05