As the international community raises louder objections to civilian deaths in Idlib, northwestern Syria, Moscow on Friday declared it is in full compliance with its obligations under the 2018 Sochi agreements on the embattled province.
"Russia is fully fulfilling all obligations under the Sochi agreements with regard to the Idlib zone,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, referring to the de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are prohibited.
Admitting that “the situation there leaves much to be desired,” he added that Russia’s “deepest concern” is “the large number of terrorists who constantly carry out offensive and aggressive actions" against the Assad regime and the Russian base in Khmeimim in nearby Latakia.
Turkey and Russia agreed in September 2018 to turn Idlib, Syria into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Since then, more than 1,300 civilians there have been killed in attacks by the Bashar al-Assad regime and Russian forces as the cease-fire – including a new cease-fire starting on Jan. 12 – continued to be violated.
Over one million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the last year.
On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan criticized Russia's attitude on Idlib, saying that if Moscow is a loyal partner, it should show this in Syria.
"If Russia abides by the agreements [on Syria], so will we, but for now, Russia is not sticking to neither Astana nor Sochi," said Erdoğan.