Turkey Still Needs to Fulfill Sochi-Deal Conditions

Turkey has yet to fulfill the conditions of the Syria-related agreements made over a year ago in Sochi, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman of the Russian Presidential cabinet said in an interview with Rossiya-1 TV channel.

“In this case, we can clearly say that the conditions of the Sochi accords that stated that Turkey would have to ensure demarcation, withdrawal of heavy weapons and so on, which were signed by the two presidents more than a year ago, have not yet been fulfilled,” he said.

“Very dangerous samples of military equipment fall into their hands [terrorists in Idlib]. And all this, unfortunately, does not contribute to the normalization of the situation,” Peskov said, as reported by TASS.

The situation in Idlib deteriorated dramatically after the Russian and Turkish taskforces had made another attempt to enforce a ceasefire. Terrorists only intensified their attacks instead, killing Russian and Turkish military specialists. The Syrian government army took retaliatory actions against extremists and gained control of the city of Saraqib near Idlib on February 5.

In the morning of February 11, the Turkey-backed Syrian opposition launched mass-scale attacks on the Syrian government army on two fronts – the town of Saraqib and the community of Nayrab situated to the north of Saraqib in Idlib. The opposition’s offensive was carried out with the fire support from the Turkish artillery. Jabhat al-Nusra (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) militants took an active part in the fighting. Syrian forces repelled these attacks, while militants suffered heavy losses, with lots of those killed and wounded.

On September 17, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at their meeting in Sochi agreed to create a 15-20 kilometer-wide demilitarized zone along the line of contact in the Idlib province by October 15, 2018. However, at the time Ankara asked to have extra time and to postpone the start of joint patrolling in Idlib due to the inability to guarantee security on their part.

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