The Russian government responded Monday to U.S. President Donald Trump criticism against the country's ongoing military operations in the Syrian northern province of Idlib, saying that such attacks are meant to "neutralize terrorists."
Turkey, Russia to Fight Terrorism, Establish Safe Zone in Syria
"It goes without saying that bombardments by terrorists from Idlib are unacceptable and measures are being taken for neutralizing their fire emplacements," Kremlin's spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said on Monday.
These statements have followed a tweet from the U.S. president: "Hearing word that Russia, Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iran, are bombing the hell out of Idlib Province in Syria, and indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians. The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!"
Peskov recalled the Sochi agreements that were being implemented and stated that "Russia maintains cooperation with Turkey, which is responsible for preventing such attacks [by terrorists] from Idlib".
Concluded in the Russian city of Sochi on Sept. 17, 2018, the Russian-Turkish agreement was aimed to demilitarize Idlib’s zone from which extremists had to withdraw.
However, the situation is still complicated in the Idlib province which served as an enclave during the Syrian conflict for beaten anti-government forces in other regions.
Tensions in Northern Syria broke out at the beginning of May when militants had conducted repeated attacks on many positions of the Syrian army and Russia’s base Hmeymim.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had warned armed groups not to carry out terrorist acts in the Idlib zone and stressed that Russia would not let them go unpunished.
“With regard to the Idlib area, I have repeated it several times and I would like to repeat it once again. We must continue to fight the terrorists who have settled in this Idlib area. If they make incursions from there, which happens from time to time, they will be retaliated by us,” President Putin said at a press conference in Beijing in April.